Suspend Your Disbelief

Shop Talk |

Baudelaire, $2.45?

I really like vending machines. There’s something very cool about peering through the glass and scoping out what’s there, putting in your money and typing in the right code, then watching your treat slowly tumble down into the chute. I also enjoy seeing what weird things people decide to sell via machine. while ago, to my great delight, I spotted an iPod vending machine at Logan Airport. A mall near me has a ProActiv vending machine—for those times when you must treat your acne on the go, I guess.

Now Polk County, Florida, has introduced a vending machine I’d love to try out: a book vending machine. Bay News 9 reports:

The Polk County Library Cooperative has placed new book and DVD vending machines at the Polk Outpost 27 tourism center on Highway 27.

The machines are something like those Red Box movie rental machines that have become so common. All Polk residents need to do is swipe their library card and they can check out best-selling books and movies. There is even a box set up for returns.

Surprisingly, Polk County isn’t the only place to find book vending machines. The American Library Association displayed book machines at its 2009 conference. Last summer, the German city of Hamburg installed book vending machines around its university, selling books by local authors for 4 euros. And way back in 2005, Parisians were able to purchase classic texts on the street for as little as $2.45.

Personally, I think I’d find it hard to look through the glass front and judge a book by its cover—literally. But what do you think? Would you use a book lending (or vending) machine?


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