Book vending machine unveiled at train station 自動賣書機在英國火車站正式啟用
It’s not very often a train station vending machine gets this kind of attention, or indeed, the presence of best-selling authors like Michael Morpurgo. But his wife Clare is the daughter of Allen Lane, and they were here to mark something special.
Clare, Lady Morpurgo, Allen Lane’s daughter
“On a train journey back from staying with his great friend Agatha Christie, my father got off the train at Exeter, to get the train back to London, and went to the bookshop to find something to read. All the books were very expensive and very boring, and he thought then: I’ve got a really good idea – popular books with a decent price that everybody would like to read.”
So, Allen Lane founded Penguin Books, and the paperback was a big hit. And, it turns out, this isn’t Penguin’s first vending machine.
Zainab Juma, Penguin Books
“In 1937, Allen Lane actually installed a Penguin Book vending machine that he called the Penguincubator on Charing Cross Road.”
Today, they were celebrating how Penguin Books came into being with a big book, or perhaps should I say a cake, marking the arrival of this machine.
Sir Michael Morpurgo, Best-selling author
“And here it is, all these years later, with the penguin logo on it, at the station where he discovered this idea, having just been to visit Agatha Christie. He’d sold, I mean, millions of her books for a tiny, tiny price, which was really important. It was one of the reasons writers like that became superstars in the world of writing, the world over.”
On its big day, this vending machine acted like every other vending machine. So far, it’s sold 200 books since it was first installed.