The newest place to buy the latest besteller is a vending machine. Irish company Novel Idea Vending machines originally came up with the concept as a ‘mini-bookshop’ that would sell books 24/7 in all the usual vending machine haunts. The idea has since been adapted to sell magazines as well. The bias will no doubt be towards already-branded authors, commercial powerhouses like John Grisham, Danielle Steele and John le Carre, but with the books trapped behind half an inch of plexiglass, the whole scheme is really going to give new meaning to ‘judging a book by it’s cover.’
That’s kind of the problem, isn’t it? While I quite like the idea of 24-hour books, a vending machine isn’t exactly a satisfying shopping experience. You can’t get a feel of the paper, or skim-read the first chapter to see if it grabs you, or even read the blurb. And I don’t want to think about what the inside of a vending machine will do to that new-book smell.