Some years back a bookstore in Colorado tested a “book vending machine” that literally printed books (a la print-on-demand) and bound them right there in the store. This allowed the bookstore to operate without inventory, just a single sample book on each title that bookstore visitors could peruse before ordering their printed copy. The machines were loud, clunky and slow and the store finally got rid of the machine (which was in BETA test) and the company that created it went out of business. But the thought of vending machines for books always seemed to have a place in society – I mean we can get just about anything through vending machines these days, right? Why not books. The perfect placement for a book vending machine would of course be an airport. You plug in a few dollars (or swipe your credit card) and voila, your book is dispensed. Now it would seem that despite our constant pursuit of technology and efficiency the Parisians have beat us to the vending machine punch. The AP reported today that the first book vending machine was installed in Paris. Maxi-Livres, a low-cost publisher and bookstore chain has installed four of these machines in busy metro stops offering a late night read to anyone ready to plunk down a mere $2.45 per book.
Check out the AP article here: http://www.jsonline.com/enter/books/aug05/349974.asp?format=print
I would definitely be prone to buying a book from a vending machine. You know where they’d really sell like hotcakes? The post office. 9/10 times I go to the post office I forget to bring a book, and the wait times in line in a city like L.A. can be upwards of 45 minutes. The only way to survive the frustration is to multi-task.