Books in Unusual Places

I keep hearing that “Print is dead,” that bookstores are doomed, that actual real paper books you can hold in your hand are disappearing — but for all of these doom-and-gloom prognostications, I still see a lot of love for books out there in the world.

I’ve bookmarked a few articles lately that I keep meaning to post about here, and when I noticed that they all had a common theme, I decided I’d just post all the links at once.

A Novel Idea: Vending Machines for Books

I was in London recently. The first thing that welcomed me upon my arrival at Heathrow Airport was a vending machine that sells books. A novel idea, you say? That is exactly what it’s called!

Novel Idea is a mini bookshop that allows you to pick from up to 24 current and bestselling titles . You can pay with your credit card, and be on your merry way to the Tube or airplane, knowing that you have a great read in your hand.

When you purchase a book from Novel Idea, it pops out in a pre-packed gift box (so that the book can’t be damaged) with a pull-out carry handle and press out bookmark.

Little Free Library brings neighbors together through books

Jonathan Beggs wanted an easy way for his neighbors to share books.

Using odds and ends of fiberboard and Douglas fir, the retired building contractor fashioned a hutch the size of a dollhouse. He gave it a pitched cedar-shingle roof capped with copper. The door, trimmed in bright red, opens to three shelves filled with books by Joyce Carol Oates, Tony Hillerman, James Michener and others. Below hangs a sign: “Take a book or bring a book or both.” [….]

When a 9-year-old boy knocked on his door one morning to say how much he liked the little library, Beggs knew he was on to something. He added amenities to make it more welcoming. He crafted wooden benches from leftover beams and installed them on either side of the library amid redwood chips that cushion the feet. [….]

His Little Free Library is part of a movement that started in Wisconsin and has begun to catch on in Southern California. In large cities and small towns, suburbs and rural communities, advocates see the libraries as a way to keep the printed word in the hands of seasoned and budding bibliophiles.

An abandoned Walmart becomes largest public library in the U.S.

Many times abandoned places are left behind, but not in this case. What once was a Walmart is now the largest single-story public library in the United States [….] The result is a spacious library packed with books as well as an auditorium, computer lab, classrooms, meeting rooms, and reading lounge for adults and teens. [….]

The best part? Within the first month following the opening, library registration spiked by 23 percent!