Clever Reuse in Hamburg: German Publisher Sells Books out of Old Cigarette Vending Machines

book vending machine germany photo

A book vending machine in Hamburg, Germany. Photo by Hamburger Automatenverlag.

Lots of people talk about the need to get kids and adults "in the habit of reading," but one German publisher has taken this idea to somewhat literal -- and very clever -- lengths by recycling machines that used to feed bad habits into devices that encourage good ones.According to the blog Publishing Perspectives, the Hamburg-based publisher Hamburger Automatenverlag has "refurbished and repurposed old cigarette automats for the purpose of selling books, focusing on the neighborhood surrounding the University of Hamburg."

New Use for Increasingly Obsolete Machines
The small-format books, all written by local authors, cost four euros (about $5) each and include graphic novels, poetry, a photo book, a cookbook for children, and a travel guide for professional women.

As more and more countries move to enact smoking bans in offices, restaurants, bars, and even parks, cigarette vending machines -- already illegal in Canada and many places in the United States -- will likely become obsolete. Innovative recycling ideas like Hamburger Automatenverlag's (and like artist Clark Whittington's Art-O-Mats) pose a great alternative to consigning them to the scrapyard.

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