I’m a bit disappointed. I wanted to test out the Espresso Book Machine, the new printing gizmo that’s hyped up to be as revolutionary as the Gutenberg press. But I can’t, because it’s broken.
The UK’s first Espresso Book Machine is located on the ground floor of Blackwell’s bookshop on Charing Cross Road, London. (There’s a video of a demonstration model above.)
It prints ‘books on demand’ and its looks have been likened to a large photocopier, which is true. This truly is an unlovely piece of kit.
It’s meant to have thousands of titles ready for you to print in less than five minutes – around the time it takes to make a cup of coffee. You’re also invited to ‘become an author, print your own book’, which in theory could be handy if you wanted to go DIY on a small promotional print run.
But currently the sign on top says simply: ‘The Espresso machine is currently offline for essential maintenance and will be online again soon. Apologies for any inconvenience.’
A member of staff said it was working fine yesterday, but they don’t know when it’ll be back up and running – “probably this weekend”.
Let’s see what happens. I’ll report back soon.
(Publisher, Yearbooks, A&C Black)