BooksActually launches book vending machines in Singapore

A book vending machine by BooksActually at the National Museum of Singapore. PHOTO: BOOKSACTUALLY
Each vending machine can store about 120 to 150 books. PHOTO: BOOKSACTUALLY
BooksActually's first book vending machines can be found at the National Museum of Singapore and Orchard Road. ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

Good news for avid readers: Independent bookstore, BooksActually, has recently launched Singapore's first book vending machines.

On Friday (June 3), two book vending machines located at the National Museum of Singapore and Singapore Visitor Centre at Orchard began operations, allowing users to buy a book easily.

The bookstore also plans to include a third vending machine at Goodman Arts Centre which will be up later this month.

These vending machines were installed with a grant from Spring Singapore and each vending machine can store about 120 to 150 books.

The inspiration behind this innovative idea was the Penguincubator, which was created by Penguin Books' founder Allen Lane in 1937, said Ms Renee Ting, 24, manager at BooksActually.

"The machine is our way of bringing Singapore Literature out of our bookstore and closer to the public," Ms Ting explains.

Available books feature the works of Singaporean writers and creators and range from poetry and short stories to graphic novels.

The vending machine located at the National Museum of Singapore carries a wide variety of books for all ages - from the Sherlock Sam children's book series to local poet Joshua Ip's Sonnets from the Singlish (2012), which was awarded the Singapore Literature Prize in 2014. Prices range from $10 to $22.

Furthermore, the vending machine at the Singapore Visitor Centre at Orchard also includes DVDs, such as the documentary Singapore GaGa by film-maker Tan Pin Pin. Patrons will also be able to get their hands on CDs by local artists, such as Charlie Lim and Aspidistrafly. Prices range from $20 to $28.

Currently, the machines accept only $2, $5 and $10 notes, but cashless payment may be introduced in the future.

Each vending machine will stay at the current three locations for around three months. After which, they will be relocated to other locations around Singapore.

"We are currently targeting places and institutions that support the arts in Singapore," said Ms Ting.

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