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Book Vending Machines: Can They Become a New Trend?

Recent news has reported that Besser Elementary School has recently installed a vending machine on their premises. However, this isn’t just any vending machine but a machine that dispenses children’s books that kids can take home and keep.

While Besser isn’t the first school to install the machine, it does have a compelling reason behind its installation. According to the report, the device was a byproduct of a teacher’s idea during a Parent Advisory Council (PAC) meeting. The goal was for every student in the school to own their books which they could continue reading at home.

According to a parent volunteer, children must own their books because it gives off a different feeling and meaning.

Another exciting part of the report is how the school utilized said machine. While most vending machines operate on typical money, the book vending machine works with unique tokens students can earn. Teachers and administrators determine specifics on how children can make these tokens. However, most students are rewarded tokens by their teachers for displaying positive behavior.

By rewarding positive behavior and linking it to books as prizes, this system creates a multi-tiered level of support where children understand the importance of positive behavior, the advantages of reading, and the concept of “earning” something they desire.

Are Book Vending Machines Becoming a Trend?

Considering this report, Besser Elementary School isn’t the only school with a book vending machine system. Several schools and public libraries have already adopted this unique mechanic in their buildings.

Still, the concept is new, at least in America, because Japan seems to have one since 2009. This occurrence is not surprising since Japan is known for having ubiquitous vending machines that offer products ranging from snacks, drinks, and even underwear!

What Are Possible Uses of Book Vending Machines?

Vending machines are also popular in the United States. According to research, there are at least five million operating vending machines across the country, where they rake in around $7 billion in sales annually for their operators.

While vending machines are generally profitable, they also have a degree of risk, and placement is everything, especially regarding the amount of foot traffic in your area.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to consider book vending machines as a possible feature in a building—particularly in schools and libraries. While they may not be as profitable as vending machines that dispense snacks and drinks, they do have charm because of their uniqueness and cultivate a reading culture on a broader scale.

If you are thinking of how a book vending machine can be of use in your community, here are some suggestions:

1. A book vending machine for schools.

Book vending machines are popular in elementary schools because they’re unique, offer a reward system, and teach children the concept of “earning” something they will own. For this type of book vending machine, consider a mechanism that uses unique tokens instead of typical money since most elementary children don’t carry much cash for themselves.

While there are rarely any reports about book vending machines in junior high and high school, local Parent-Teacher Associations may consider investing in one while also deciding on the best choices for children in that age range.

2. A book vending machine for libraries.

Schools are just some institutions that can benefit from book vending machines. The National Library Board launch a book vending machines in a mall where residents can borrow books and eBooks. One reason why they installed the device was that the library had to undergo renovations. Users who use the machine must return books to the library themselves.

Some possible solution to how libraries can continue to become a mainstay in their community is to make books more accessible via coffee shops and vending machines. While it may take a while for people to adjust, it can be a worthwhile endeavor in small towns that may find it hard to get to faraway libraries.

3. A book vending machine for unique cafés.

One possible idea is having a book vending machine in a café.
Branded coffee shops like Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks have a significant market share in the United States coffee market. Nevertheless, independent coffee shops and cafés continue to open and become the cornerstone of their communities.

One way these independent cafés can ensure they become a mainstay in their areas is to offer something that these big chains don’t have. Some coffee shops have libraries and book shops, making it a more relaxing place for book lovers and coffee enthusiasts.

4. A book vending machine in an airport.

Most airports offer snack stands, kiosks, convenience shops, cafés, and charging stations for travelers worldwide. However, installing a book vending machine in an airport (especially a small one) may help travelers find a way to pass the time without needing to resort to their phones and gadgets during waiting time!

You can expand these vending machines and offer ones for young readers, newspapers, magazines, fiction for teens, and even classic novels. Moreover, many travelers may even consider buying some travel guidebooks before they leave for their flight, giving them another option to endure long flights.

Summary and Key Takeaways:

Book vending machines are unique because it’s creative and unique. Vending machines also don’t have an expensive start-up cost, making it a worthwhile endeavor. However, before investing in these machines, you should know they’re still relatively new, which means they may not have an impressive profit figure in the first quarter.

Additionally, book vending machines may not be as popular as snacks and drink machines, thus resulting in a lesser profit. If profit is your goal, you’re better off investing in other products. However, suppose you’d like to start a community-funded machine that can benefit students. In that case, it’s undoubtedly a unique system for many schools.

In conclusion, while book vending machines are helpful in schools and libraries, investors who want to profit from vending machines may find it better to sell other products instead.


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