1966 Tokyo Bookstore Idea for the 2020 Pandemic

As businesses close and struggle to stay afloat during these social distancing times, necessitated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many in the retail sector have been able to adapt by adding delivery or curbside pickup services. I don't know of any bookstores offering this service, but a Tokyo bookstore in 1966 offered a novel concept for the time that parallels 2020 efforts to get control of the deadly virus. 

The Japanese bookstore in the wire photo below was called a "drive-in bookstore" by the press. It may well have been drive-in, as the image doesn't appear to show a drive-through for the car.

Further research, in an attempt to identify the bookstore by name, was unsuccessful. But some interesting information about the business revealed the bookstore comprised a nine-story building with more than a million books in stock. All one had to do was drive up to the window, tell the "pretty clerk" which book or books you wanted, and the order would be placed via closed circuit TV. Turnaround time was estimated to be two minutes. Unless you were stuck in a long line, I suppose.

Actually, I did find another version of a drive-in bookstore created when a driver couldn't stop before crashing through the front window of Southworth's Bookstore near Purdue University in 1958. The owners of the store cleverly, and with a sense of humor, made lemonade out of lemons during the repairs by advertising their business as "Purdue's only drive-in bookstore!"


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