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Release: March 28, 2002  

UI Libraries sells Dubuque and Ottumwa authors' books via vending machine

            Two University of Iowa departments' novel idea to use a vending machine that typically dispenses candy for use as a "book drop" has been modified by the UI Libraries' Special Collections Department to offer titles by Iowa authors David Drake and Leigh Michaels, a noted writer of Harlequin Romance novels.

            The Book Drop machine is located in the North Lobby of the Main Library and continues to offer bookbinding kits and other book arts prepared by the UI Center for the Book, the first UI department to use the vending machine concept. The kits are described and pictured at at the "Book Art$" link.

            Drake, who is from Dubuque and who lives in the Chapel Hill, N.C., area is regarded as the king of military science fiction. He has published more than 50 books including, most recently, "Servant of the Dragon" Isles Series (Tor/1999); "Lt. Leary Commanding" RCN Series (Baen/2000); "Mistress of the Catacombs" Isles Series (Tor/2001); and "Paying the Piper" (Baen/2002). A complete listing of Drake's work can be found on the Web at

Drake received bachelor's degrees in history and Latin from the UI in 1967 and entered Duke Law School before being drafted to serve in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1971. He spent most of 1970 as an interrogator with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the Blackhorse, in Vietnam and Cambodia. He completed law school and spent eight years as assistant town attorney of Chapel Hill, N.C. before becoming a full-time writer in 1981.

Michaels, a native Iowan who lives in Ottumwa, has written more than 65 contemporary romances for Harlequin Books. More than 30 million copies of her books have been printed worldwide, and her work has been translated into more than 20 languages.  Her recent romance titles include "His Trophy Wife," "Backwards Honeymoon," "The Boss's Daughter," and "Bride by Design." She has also written the nonfiction titles "Writing the Romance Novel," "Dear Leigh Michaels," and "A Taste of Love," a collection of recipes. Michaels can be reached by email at

The "Book Drop" is also a source for the ever-popular Ethiopian bookbinding kits and other gift book arts. There are also note cards with images drawn from the John Martin Rare Book Collections Installation. Use of the SnackShop machine has been generously donated by Cedar Rapids' Aramark Uniform Services, Inc., which provides vending service on campus. Proceeds from the Book Drop go to support programs of the University of Iowa Center for the Book and of the Libraries.