Vending Machine Sells Books For Whatever Price You Want

from the i'll-buy-that-for-a-dollar dept

While we've seen pay-what-you-want models work quite well for digital goods, it's still uncertain as to whether the model works for tangible goods where the marginal cost of each sold item does not approach zero. However, that doesn't mean people shouldn't try. A Brazilian company launched a line of vending machines that sell books without a set price, allowing customers to decide what they want to pay for the book. That said, it's not entirely pay what you want, since the machines require that customers put a minimum of a 2 BRL note (equivalent to about $1.17 USD) to get a book.

Initial reports claim that "sales at the promotional machines had already more than doubled within just over a month after the program’s launch, and most purchases are indeed paid with a BRL 2 note." While this sounds promising, there's no mention of how much more the books were priced before the new model was implemented, nor the profit margin beforehand. Furthermore, in looking at the vending machine, it's not apparent that customers are given any real reason why they should pay more than the minimum for the book. The books are just placed in a normal looking vending machine -- customers can't leaf through the book or even look at the back cover until after they've bought the book (and decided what to pay for it). This seems like a lost opportunity. Especially in a pay-what-you-want situation, it's still about giving customers a reason to pay more.
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Filed Under: books, pay what you want, vending machine


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  1. icon
    Overcast (profile), 24 Feb 2012 @ 7:58am

    it is clear that Ebooks are about to undergo the same piracy revolution that hit music and movies. It's doubtful that people will pay $2 for something they can get easily for free.

    But on that - most any book you can buy - is free, right now, at the library...

    And either way - in today's digital age, knowing how easy it is to duplicate content - I'm simply not going to pay the 'old' prices.

    Do without? Sure I will. It's not a big deal - because on the total other side of the coin - there is such a huge volume of *legit* stuff out there for free - what does it matter?

    I can often get more enjoyment out of reading blogs than a book and I can often get more enjoyment watching stuff on YouTube than paying $14.95 for a 90 minute movie.

    There are free games, free movies, free music, free books out there on the web in massive quantities. I bet I can find more free books on the web now than most brick and mortar stores have - and I'm totally talking legit content.

    And if not, the library is 5 minutes from my house. I can check out whatever I want for free.

    There are a few books I might be willing to pay more than $20.00 for - but not many.

    Over the last couple years, the only time I have paid that much for a book are technical training types of books. Otherwise, I grab them up cheap at places going out of business or used book stores.

    I went to on big chain bookstore that was closing recently - I bought a stack of cheap books, but many there were still full price - I suppose they can just keep those.

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