From Germany, here's a variation on the "swords to plowshares" theme: "vice to virtue".
German publishing company Hamburger Automatenverlag (Hamburg Automatic Publishing) has adapted old cigarette vending machines to sell books instead of cigarettes at various locations in Hamburg.
The repurposed machines carry a series of condensed novels, photo books, graphic novels and collections of poetry by local authors -- all designed to be exactly the same size as a packet of cigarettes. The idea is to get people into the habit of reading as opposed to smoking.
Germany's increasingly strict smoking regulations mean that coin-operated cigarette vending machines are being replaced by modern versions which can scan identity cards for age verification purposes. This means that the old mechanical versions will become obsolete as of November 2010.
Instead of scrapping the robust machines, which are famed for their craftsmanship, a few small adjustments have been made to complete the vice-to-virtue transformation. To operate the machines you select your desired book, insert coins to the value of €4 (£3.30), tug on a spring-loaded lever and the requested book is dispensed into a retractable metal drawer.
To read the complete article, see:
Cigarette vending machines converted to sell books
Wayne Homren, Editor
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