What do you do with those unwanted Christmas presents? Rather than attempt the half-thought out gift repurposing – where you end up accidentally giving your Aunt Mildred the same pair of bright pink suspenders she gave you and trying in vain to persuade her that you both just have similar tastes in presents – a German book retailer has come up with an innovative way of addressing this age-old problem.
Hugendubel – which owns some 70 odd high street bookshops in major department stores throughout Germany – has paired up with German trade publisher Bastei Lübbe to develop a somewhat unusual solution.
The organisations have invented a vending machine (pictured above), which recycles unwanted gifts in exchange for books.
Users simply dump their presents – of all shapes and sizes – and at the touch of a button see it replaced by one of a number of different book titles.
“Books are simply the best gifts in the world, and the conversion machine is a wonderful way that [can be] emphasized again even after the holidays,” Ricarda Witte-Masuhr, Bastei Lübbe’s marketing manager, said.
The device will be set up outside Hugendubel branches after ‘C-Day’, on 28th December in a busy shopping centre in Munich. This will be followed by appearances in Ingolstadt the following day and in Nuremberg on 30th December.
The seven frontlist book titles will be supplied by Bastei Lübbe and include bestselling authors such as Rebecca Gable and Ethan Cross.
All unwanted presents will be given to local charities.
Book vending machines have been on the rise recently, with Washington D.C. setting up vending machines that dispense free books to children. Meanwhile, another German initiative – the Hamburger Automatenverlag – saw literary vending machines established by repurposing former cigarette vending machines. And in the UK, Warwickshire libraries have been working with local hospitals to introduce a library book vending machine, which featured over 400 different book titles.