Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Darling, You Vend Me, Honest You Do, Honest You Do

I see this lovely sight every evening while I'm waiting for the subway to come and take me from Hadan back to Beomnaegol:




The one on the right needs no introduction.  The one on the left is a book vending machine.





All of these books cost approximately 2 or 3 dollars.  Since all the titles are in Korean, I can't tell you what is featured here.*  I'm assuming some light reading like chick lit and perhaps some self-improvement.  BOA is a Korean pop star, so maybe that's her biography/memoir.

I never see anyone putting money in the machine and buying a book.  That's disappointing, because I worry that these machines might go away if no one uses them.  While I can't appreciate them firsthand, due to the language barrier, I appreciate them for being there for my fellow commuters on the Busan Metro.

Maybe I should buy one anyway.  So what if I can't read it?  I've got plenty of students who would be willing to give me the gist.  Then I could hunt through it, looking for words I recognize and the Koreans on the train would see me "reading" and they would be all wow and wow.

While it's true that book vending machines are in bus terminals and subway stations all around Korea, standing next to *my* machine every evening as I wait for my train is one of the things that delights me about my everyday life and makes me happy to be here.

*Edited to add: After another long, laborious look, I made out that the third book on the top row is called "Ramen".  The fifth book in that same row with the red question mark is titled "Why".



8 comments:

Kathleen said...

These vending machines are a great idea. It's sad to think that not many will use them.

Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader said...

I wish that those book vending machines were EVERYWHERE. So fantastic :)

Also, I have to thank you for getting that song stuck in my head, lol.

Jenny said...

This seems like a genius idea! Are possibly all the books in the vending machine terrible, and that's why nobody's buying them? I wonder what books I would select if I had to stock a book vending machine. It would be nice if each one could have a little blurb for you to look at...

Susan said...

I love the idea of the book vending machines!! Awesome.

jenclair said...

What a clever idea, and it would seem that the location was perfect-- so I wonder why there aren't lines of commuters waiting to purchase reading material.

SFP said...

Do many people read on the subway in Busan or do they usually listen to music or stare into space?

Bybee said...

SFP,
There are some readers. Mostly people listen to music or play with their game apps or watch a movie. They also stare at the foreigner (me).

Unruly Reader said...

Book vending machines: way cooler than eBooks