While more and more people buying digital books on their phones and tablets, one company in Singapore is bucking the trend by selling traditional paper books through vending machines.
Two machines are now fully operational, offering a curated selection of reads to passersby in the Singapore Visitor Center and National Museum of Singapore. Stocking only 22 titles, the range is on the slim side, but the unusual point of purchases which are decorated by local artists seem to be attracting plenty of eager readers.
Kenny Leck, the owner of BooksActually, the company behind the vending machines explains, “The whole idea is about accessibility and eyeballs. There are not enough bookstores in Singapore…these vending machines could be a visual touchpoint. You may not buy [a book] but we’ll let you know these exist. And from there, there could be more possibilities. We start with visual awareness: books where you see a local author’s name. The ultimate place we want to put them are at train stations.”
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With an absence of bookstores in Singapore, the company certainly looks like it might have some success in the short term. However, the lack of choice, consumer’s habits moving towards digital products and difficulty for the buyer to make an informed purchase without looking at the back of the book, it’s unclear how the company will fare in the future. It’s a novel idea and anything that gets people reading more gets a thumbs up from us.