Machine Supply is a Vending Machine Which Sells Books
Traditional book shops are under increasing threat from the digitisation of both the product and the market place.
The vending machine was deployed about a month ago in the lounge at Campus London, one of Google’s incubators.
Those of us who can’t see it in person can follow the vending machine on Twitter (it tweets each sale, and also book recommendations) or see it in operation in the following video:
Interesting idea, but I have to wonder whether this will go anywhere.
With the first known book vending machine having been invented nearly 200 years ago, the idea isn’t new. Penguin promoted the concept during its early years (when it was still a paperback-publishing outsider), and indie bookstores have developed custom designs.
Unlike Best Buy vending machines, which can be found in every airport and most convention centers, book vending machines are still quite rare.
Do you suppose that is because they haven’t found their niche, or because they just don’t make any sense in economic or practical terms?
I would argue the latter. What with the prevalence of internet access, there’s no need for book vending machines any more. If you need a book, you can buy the ebook online immediately or have the paper book delivered in a couple days.
Webb, however, thinks there might be a reason for book vending machines. "I guess what I’m exploring with machine Supply is curation… instead of infinite selection, just 12 recommended books each week," he told me on Twitter, continuing in his second tweet: "that you can buy online (e-book or for delivery), or remember for later.But if you want it immediately, it’s right there."
What do you think?