Maybe it's the 24-hour access to 25 book titles or the bizarrely cheap price, but I'm sold on French publisher Maxi-Livres' book vending machines. For an across-the-board $2.45 per book fee, get titles ranging from Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) and Alice in Wonderland to verb-conjugation dictionaries and a couscous cookbook.

"We knew that French bibliophiles would be horrified to see their books falling into a trough like candy or soda," says the publishing house's president, Xavier Chambon. "So we installed a mechanical arm that grabs the book and delivers it safely."

(Thanks, Giselle.)

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