Green Business Ideas: Used Books Vending Machines

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imagesGL3W0YNUIf you look around at your fellow passengers on your morning or evening public transit commute, chances are you’ll see a number of people with their eyes glued to their smartphone or tablet, reading the latest news or catching up on Facebook or updates from their favorite blogs. But you’ll probably also see quite a few people reading in the old-school way – with an actual paper book in their hands.

Regardless of what the media likes to predict, real honest-to-goodness books aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and even if more new books are being published as ebooks these days, there are still a huge amount of paperbacks and hardcover books circulating, as well as a hungry audience for them, regardless of the number of e-readers and smartphones in use.

If you’re one of those people who like to dive into a book while commuting or traveling, but have experienced the pangs of withdrawal when you accidentally leave the house without any reading material, you’re not alone, and you’ve probably felt the urge to buy something on impulse, just to satisfy your mind during your journey.

Dana Clarke, owner of Green Reads, has felt your pain, and she’s got a solution that not only helps satisfy the reading urge for travelers, but also keeps great used books in circulation and out of the trash bin.

A prototype of Clarke’s used books vending machine, which is installed at the Barrie Transit hub, allows commuters to grab a used book to read for just $2 CAD, as well as the opportunity to donate a book once they’re finished with it.

The Green Reads used books vending machine uses no electricity and accommodates a variety of sizes of books, from paperbacks to hardcovers, which makes it a great eco-friendly method of getting used books off the shelves and into reader’s hands. In addition to providing a welcome service for travelers, Clarke also supports other literary initiatives by donating 25% of her sales to Project Ashia, which is working on women’s literacy and numeracy issues in Africa.

According to CTV, Clarke is considering a crowdfunding campaign in order to get more of her used books vending machines in transit stations and hospitals in Canada, and to possibly get them into the US as well.


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