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Library Book Vending Machines

From SF List (via Tame the Web):

Starting sometime in April, library books will be available at Contra Costa County BART stations via "ATM style lending machines." A new program called Library-a-Go-Go, along with the Contra Costa County Library, will allow BART riders to simply swipe a card, select a book, wait for said book choice to drop, and then return the book after the rider is finished reading their literary gem. The machines will "hold around 400 popular and best-selling titles, both fiction and nonfiction, and will be accessible during Bart hours."

Sweden, Norway, and Finland already use these nifty little gadgets. The Pittsburg/Bay Point station is first up to receive the literary lenders, which "cost a little under $100,000 each."

It would seem that book vending machines aren't new overseas. A company called Novel Idea has created a Mini-Bookshop vending machine which vends 20-24 new and bestselling titles and can hold up to 290 books. The machine has an LCD screen on the front which enables any customer to read a synopsis of any of the books available in the machine. All books are pre-packed in a gift box specifically designed to protect both the machine and book from being damaged during the vending process. The box comes with a pull-out carry handle and currently includes a press out bookmark.