Jul 20, 2023

Novel idea! Penguin install book vending machines at train stations

Penguin Books say they have 'gone back to their roots' by putting a book vending machine at Exeter train station but it's proved so popular that they are now letting travellers vote for another machine at a UK station

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Rail commuters can read on the go thanks to Penguin installing BOOK VENDING MACHINES at train stations.

Penguin Books say they have 'gone back to their roots' by putting a book vending machine at Exeter train station but it's proved so popular that they are now letting travellers vote for another machine at a UK station.

The 'novel idea' was inspired by the company's origin, when founder Sir Allen Lane could only find magazines to read while waiting at St Davids station in Exeter.

The first vending machine already offers 28 different book titles for commuters to pick up on their travels so they don't face the same problem.

Throughout the year, titles will change on a regular basis, featuring new releases and classic favourites, as well as marking moments such as LGBTQIA+ History Month and Black History Month.

The vending machine celebrates what Penguin Books claim is their core philosophy - engaging books for anyone to read, wherever they go, at an affordable price.

Due to the machine's growing popularity, a second Penguin Books vending machine is planned to be set up at another train station, nominated by individuals across the UK.

Profits from the vending machine will support Exeter's local independent bookstore, Bookbag, and Exeter City of Literature, who celebrate books in the local area.

Anna Cohn Orchard, Executive Director of Exeter City of Literature, came up with the idea in 2021 for a book vending machine at the site of Penguin's origin.

Anna said: "I grew up in Exeter, but didn't learn about Penguin's history until, ironically, I was working in publishing in New York.

"When I took on my current role, I knew I wanted to promote Exeter and Devon's interesting, and often hidden, literary history to a much wider audience.

"This incredible invention was made possible by Penguin's enthusiastic support and the work of a local vending machine company.

"It will not only make reading more accessible to everyone who steps foot onto St Davids, but it will shine a light on how Devon has inspired so many great figures in the literary world."

Zainab Juma, Head of Brand at Penguin, said: "When Exeter City of Literature approached us about the Penguin Books vending machine, we knew immediately that it was the perfect way to celebrate our origins.

"Whiling away your time with a book is one of the great pleasures of train travel and this machine is just what our founder Allen Lane would have wanted to see as he set off on his journey.

"We're especially pleased that the vending machine will benefit Bookbag, a local independent bookstore, and Exeter City of Literature who do brilliant work making books and reading more accessible in the local community."

Amanda Burns, Director of Sales & Marketing for Great Western Railway, said: "We are proud of our long affiliation with Penguin Books, which dates back nearly 90 years.

"This book vending machine is a wonderful addition to Exeter St Davids station and is already proving popular with customers.

"Many of us love a good book to read on a relaxing railway journey to an iconic destination and this installation means you can pick up a Penguin Book just before you travel."

Penguin Books posted the update to their Twitter last week [24th March]: "Introducing... the Penguin Book Vending Machine!"

One person commented: "This is absolutely inspired. Yes it's nostalgic but so what, hopefully will encourage wider reading."

Another person said: "Groovy."

Another person said: "This is a thing of beauty! [heart emoji] can we have one in other stations please?"

Another one put: "Great idea for accessibility but am I the only one who's feeling all kinds of uncomfortable at the thought of the book dropping from that height and getting damaged...? Just me? Thought so."

A final said: "Dreamy [heart eye emoji]."