German publishing company Hamburger Automatenverlag found a brilliant new use for old cigarette vending machines — instead of icky cigarettes, the re-purposed “machines” carry a series of condensed novels, photo books, graphic novels and collections of poetry by local authors. The new initiative for book distribution is a throwback to the conventional vending machine and promotes literacy in a clever and charming way.

cigarette vending machine, book vending machine, Hamburg, Germany, eco design, sustainable design, green design, Hamburger Automatenverlag

As smoking regulations keep getting stricter and prices continue to soar, the cigarette vending machines that used to be commonly found in convenience stores, restaurants and bars are now things of the past. The machines are valued for their robust mechanics however, and Hamburger Automatenverlag just needed to make a few small adjustments to transform them into book vending machines (a layer of paint, eye-catching graphics and some shiny new hardware).

The machines request 4 euros in coins (approximately 5 US dollars), which is inserted into the front of the unit. Then, after a small tug on a spring-loaded knob, the requested book is dispensed. The restored vending machines are also part of a public art series that will be distributed around they city of Hamburg.

+ Hamburger Automatenverlag