I suppose it was bound to happen.

Cigarettes and literary culture go hand in hand, so it was just a matter of time before somebody came up with this idea. What’s next? Bukowski in a bottle of bourbon? Hunter S. Thompson in a dime bag? I suppose cigarette packaging is more convenient. In fact London’s Tankbooks claims, “The flip-top cigarette pack is one of the most successful pieces of packaging design in history.”

Why stop at just one? You can even buy a whole carton. I mean once you start reading, you obviously can’t stop. In fact, you’ll probably get hooked.

Could non-smokers tell their boss, “I’m stepping outside for a cigarette break” and then stand outside and read for seven minutes before heading back inside? Now that I don’t smoke, I kind of miss the days when I could have an excuse to step outside and stare into space for seven minutes and think about nothing in particular while I smoked a cigarette.

Anyway, thanks to Book Bench, I learned of Hamburg-based publisher Automatenverlag. They’ve refurbished cigarette machines to sell books by local authors. Actually, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this . Here in LA, the shop Reform School has a cigarette machine that sells small handmade crafts by local artists. I highly recommend it. However, I don’t know if I imagine any U.S. publishers trying to market the classics in a cigarette box. This is something that could only happen in Europe or the UK. It just wouldn’t fly here.

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~ by Valerie Palmer on May 26, 2010.

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