Book vending machine sightings are on the up, which can only mean one thing – an influx of great TikTok content.
BookTok is a sub-genre of TikTok that nearly every user will have stumbled across during their time on the video-sharing platform. Plenty of stars on the app build their own personal brands and profiles around aesthetics such as academia or reading, which leads people to travel down a rabbit hole of book-related content.
One account, however, that doesn’t talk about books on her page has gone viral for bringing attention to a book vending machine in London. The video has been seen nearly 50,000 times and has received over 5k likes, making it @macabrelondon’s most popular upload yet. But why are people so enamored with BookTok?
Aside from the obvious fact that the entire concept of a book vending machine is wacky and spectacular, the plain answer is that people just love books. The last phenomenon to take over the sub-genre was ‘Blind Date With A Book’, something that has a very similar concept to the book vending machine, only with slightly more choice given to each person. You get to choose a book based on reading it’s blurb but without ever seeing the cover, title or author. Pretty intriguing.
When you combine a person’s love of books and a new discovery or something ultimately bonkers, it’s a surefire way to find success within uploaded content. That’s why these newfound ways of enticing people to read are becoming such hits online! The book vending machine removes all elements of choice (even if you thought you barely had any when picking a book blindly) as you simply choose whether or not to put your money in the machine. No forcing split decisions or reading required, just a simple yes or no and if you pick the former, you’re in luck – out pops a random book ready for you to read.
The striking yellow book vending machine in the TikTok above is taken from a rather unsuspecting place: the basement of a record shop in Soho, London. If you happen to coincidentally find it, the intrigue would likely be enough for anyone to hand over £7 and receive a book as a treat. Although I’m sure many London locals and tourists alike will be adding this to their list of places to visit, you may be surprised to know that other similar contraptions exist all over the world.
Toronto has its own version, albeit unique in nature due to it spitting out vintage books rather than modern reads, aptly named ‘The Biblio-Mat’. For $4 you can be the owner of an unusual old book that you probably won’t read but can still proudly say you gained from a vending machine.
Or if you were an avid fan of going on a blind date with a book, a concept exists in Singapore that combines the minimal knowledge included in picking a novel wrapped in paper and the excitement of a vending machine into one. BooksActually, a store in the Tiong Bahru district, ensures that you have a slither of insight into what book you’re choosing, but you still get the enjoyment of not truly knowing.
Whether you opt for a mystery book, or rom-com or jab some numbers into the keypad at random for the full effect, you’ll love what you get, however weird and crazy it may seem. Is finding a book vending machine on your BookTok accomplishments list?