Children these days grow up around so much technology that their fascination for machines and digital things may be steering them further away from ever reading real books. While various efforts are being made around the nation to encourage the circulation of paper publications, Santa Clara County in California has launched a prototype vending machine that specifically carries only books, offering a potential solution to the issue.

Displaying and dispensing books like candy bars, the brightly lit machine and the interactive process of purchase that it offers encourages young children to gain an interest in reading books. It was reported that 41 percent of third-graders in Santa Clara County are reading below their grade level, and the initiative was launched as a response to the declining literacy. The current prototype is targeted at young readers under five, and offers 220 books published for children in Pre-School and Kindergarten. The goal is to make the machines available throughout cities, while other book vending machines have also been seen, catering to adult audiences. While young kids of this fast-paced world may not stay interested in reading too long, the machines will at least definitely lure them into buying a book, though some may be surprised when the pictures won't move.

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[via PSFK]