The paper book kiosk vs the eBook virtual kiosk?

The New York Times has an article that I was reading today that states that the cheap paperback you used to be able to pickup from the drug store shelf or the airport kiosk is endangered and about to be extinct.

The article went on to say that readers are finding that eBooks cost much the same as a mass market paperback and is available the day the book itself launches… why then wait for the paperback when your Kindle (or Nook or whichever is your eReader of choice) can provide your reading pleasure immediately.

And that got me thinking… why not replace the physical kiosk with a virtual one?

A virtual eBook kiosk?

Imagine, for a minute, that the airport kiosk was able to secure a closed access server and WiFi network. They might be able to “lend” eBooks on either a network access basis or a per book basis. And possibly even offer an option to purchase the eBook if you wanted to take it with you on the plane or out the door.

When I travel, I always try and leave as much time in between flights so that I have more than enough time to make my connections. While that is not always in my power to do, when it is, I end up spending quite a bit of time in airport terminals reading to pass the time while I await the next leg of my journey.

That made me the perfect target audience for the airport paperback kiosk – and I did a large amount of browsing in those in those days. I have even been known to splurge and buy books at the-horrendously-higher-than-normal prices just because I see a book I like and want to read.

Having made the transition to a Kindle, that now makes the sort of person who would be willing and interested in browsing a virtual eBook kiosk while waiting for my next flight; theoretically.

A very “techie” solution, yes – but …

The “techie” in me can actually envision a setup that would cater to this kind of service. It seems fairly simple to me too. A machine, a WiFi hotspot, high security settings, and the software to manage the lending and the buying. Maybe even a way to update and/or upgrade a library over the web at the flick of a switch.

All that aside, and while paperbacks and their production may be in danger, the book kiosk that used to sell books is less in danger than it would seem. There are tons of opportunities with eBooks that there never was with physical books. The most obvious one is outdated novels don’t necessarily have to be removed from “shelves” to make room for the newest bestsellers.

Have any ideas you want to share?

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