Perspectives on the Espresso

Following on from my Espresso post of the other day, several other bloggers have written about this development.

My friend, colleague, and knight in shining armour for being "the only validator of Petrona on Facebook apart from Petrona herself", James Long, writes a post at The Digitalist about the Espresso-Blackwell deal. Excitingly, James features a video of the machine in action, though I have not dared to watch it yet – but please do take a look. Part of James's take is "could Blackwells use the EBM to leapfrog Borders or Waterstones in the UK by selling the long tail titles across all segments, categories and genres? Unlikely, I suppose, with just 60 stores, and that idea relies on readers/bookbuyers everywhere being very determined about what they want to buy next, and being constantly on the hunt for relatively obscure titles."

James also refers to Eoin Purcell's post about the E-B deal. Eoin writes: "I hope they [Blackwell] roll it out fast and with fanfare before other[s] steal their thunder. When you consider the customer breakdown and the likely purchases that Blackwell encompasses, you see that they are almost ideally suited as a launch customer for the Espresso in the UK."

Last but of course not least, author Debi Alper writes a post called Books – the next chapter? in which she concludes: "Looks like a positive result for publishers, authors, booksellers, readers …" Right on, Debi.

4 thoughts on “Perspectives on the Espresso

  1. I have watced the video, and was delighted by how Heath Robinson it was. I expected it to be all self-contained and broody like a literary hen, but it appears to be a pair of conventional printers and a book binding machine, cobbled together with a robotic arm. Much more fun.
    I’m still not convinced it’s more than a minor niche thingy. As I’ve mentioned, I love bookshops for browsing (thinks, must go to a bookshop this weekend, ‘BOOOKSHOPPPPS!’ (drooling, with a Homer Simpson voice), but just think of the choice if you are not browsing but looking for a particular (perhaps obscure book).
    a) Buy online – no need to leave your desk, done in less than a minute, over 2.5 million books to chose from (many more if you include something like Abebooks as well as conventional store), may well get special discounts etc.
    b) Buy from the machine – have to travel to a bookshop, wait some time (not just the five minutes or whatever, it has a queue of six other people waiting to use it), pay full price and have 1 million books to choose from.
    What I think would be really interesting is if they had a 100% book recycling machine. Then my local library could stock every book electronically, print it when I want it, give it to me, I read it, then they pulp it and reuse it. Hang on. Substitute good electronic book reader. (Admittedly not there yet, but more likely that a recycler). Hmm…

  2. Oooh – watched the video and drooled. There will inevitably be some teething problems and frustrating techy glitches (as per the office photocopier) but it feels like a very positive way forward to me.
    I think it’s a great ALTERNATIVE to buying online and will result in the book being held in your hot sweaty hand right away rather than waiting for it to arrive in the post. (Not to mention the dodgy tactics Amazon has recently been involved in – tho I know they’re not the only online choice.)
    And while you wait for your book to be printed? Browse the shelves of course. Find an author and then go back to the machine to order their backlist. Sit and drink coffee (if the store has the space and sees the potential of keeping customers in store while their books are printed) while flicking through your other purchases.
    So I’m excited anyway. Can you tell?

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