Smart Box Distribution

A Smart Box is a box which is “smart.” It knows exactly what cure the materially diseased people need in this age of Kali. It therefore distributes the most potent medicine – Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental books – to whoever is interested in taking it.

The Smart Box Project is an initiative taken to increase book distribution, sponsored by Friends of the BBT ( under the guidance of Vaisesika Dasa, ISKCON North America’s National Sankirtan Strategist ably assisted by Sri Venkatesh Chembrolu of ISKCON Silicon Valley.

The project has now completed a pilot phase with the help of ISKCON Silicon Valley Sankirtan Team (Team ISV) through which 50 Smart Boxes have been placed in the field. The results have been encouraging during this trial period with the boxes averaging from 5 to 20 books per week. This document outlines the steps to implement Smart Boxes by individuals, congregational teams, and ISKCON centers.

Forming a Team

Placing Smart Boxes is best done as a team effort The team approach helps in dividing the work for ordering and assembling the boxes, along with placing and monitoring the boxes. Much more can be achieved as a team than individually.

The team should include one or two devotees who are the overall coordinators of everything related to the smart boxes, starting from purchasing, arranging them, getting the books, placing price tags on them, getting the graphic inserts ready and making the smart boxes available to other members of the team.

Anyone can be involved in this effort as the time and skills required are minimal. If someone is shy on approaching stores, etc. they can help monitor the boxes, collect funds, or help order and assemble the boxes.

Purchasing and assembling smart boxes

Smart Boxes are assembled from readily available acrylic display components. For your convenience we have put together purchasing and assembly instructions for two standard systems with components from Beemak Plastics. If you would like to experiment with other configurations you can choose from a complete catalog of their products online at (click on download catalog from the main menu).

You can also order a free catalog by mail from their site. Be sure to measure the dimensions of the books you want to display and order a rack accordingly. If you need help with designing larger units, email us at

If you would like to experiment with other configurations you can choose from a complete catalog of their products online at (click on download catalog from the main menu). You can also order a free catalog by mail from their site. Be sure to measure the dimensions of the books you want to display and order a rack accordingly. If you need help with designing larger units, email us at


A standard smart box consists of:
1. One or more Literature Holders
2. A donation box.
3. A graphic display frame, which holds a graphic to draw people’s attention.

The base Model 1 is the current model, tested in the field by Team ISV. The original model had a larger donation box but the lock was not sturdy enough and there was a case of pilfering. This current model is both secure and convenient and can hold 15-20 small books or 3 soft-bound Bhagavad-gitas.

The larger Model 2 can hold twice the number of books and is meant for high volume locations.
The components for these 2 models can be combined into other varieties. For example Model 1 can be expanded to have two literature holders with the donation box in the middle.

In places where the donation box is secure but the money is not frequently collected a larger box can be used called the CBS-C (see appendix).

Purchasing Smart Boxes


The components for both models can be ordered online at using the model specification sheets in this guide.

Simply type in the Beemak Model No. from the sheet into their web site search box and you can then select the item for your shopping cart. Be sure to order the same quantities for each component.

There is no minimum quantity when you order online, but the total order must be at least $25 before shipping.

Beemak provides a 20% discount to non-profits if you order in case lots. These orders must be sent by faxing a purchase order mentioning the discount.

If you do not order a full case you have to pay a $20 fee. The case lots and prices can be found in our abridged price list in the appendix.

Assembling the Smart Box

The components come separately and must be connected. For this purpose, we have found Scotch Mounting Squares (double sided adhesives), available in any office supply store, to be effective.


The donation box has a header to hold a 5” x7” graphic. You can make your own graphic or download our graphic templates from

The graphic design should be printed with the correct dimensions, so that it will fit just right in the graphic display frame.

Make sure to put your contact information on the reverse of the graphic, with details on who to contact if the box needs refilling before your scheduled visit.

Selecting Your Books

Choose an assortment of small books (see our recommended list) and rubber stamp or label them with the temple address and contact information.

Place appropriate price tags on them and arrange them in the book rack either before or after delivering it to the location. Team ISV recommends Avery Item 5462 – CC Round 3/4″ Yellow for Laser/Ink Jet available at Office Depot and other major office supply stores or online.

Placing the Smart Boxes

After creating the boxes they need to be placed in appropriate places. Here’s a step by step guide.
Make A List

Create a list of potentially good places for placing the boxes. ISV has had success placing boxes in the suggested locations.

Indian stores and restaurants are the prime category and are the most receptive. But non-Indian locations can also be convinced to accept the Smart Box in their establishment.

Most stores which are part of a large franchise company (for example, gas stations, 7/11’s or other convenience stores, motels, etc.) usually do not allow any literature other then their own.

Stores which are privately owned by individuals have worked best for us so far. Familiarity with the location owners definitely helps in getting their approval.

Placing Your Books

First, it is best to go with the smart box in hand. The owner/manager can see how much space it will occupy and you can complete the installation in one step.

Ten Steps to Placing a Smart Box

1. Enter the store and ask to speak to the owner or head manager. When you meet the “decision maker,” greet him or her warmly, introduce yourself by name and organization (“I’m with a local non-profit named ISKCON) and then tell him or her that you are a volunteer working for a special project to spread world peace by distributing spiritual knowledge.

2. Explain that many stores in the local area and across America are participating and that all that it requires is placing one of our small boxes in their store so that people can take home some literature about spiritual yoga, meditation and self-improvement. (It’s best to have a picture of a few of the boxes that you’ve already placed in other stores along with the names of the stores.)

3. Say, “In the world today, we have made many technological advances but these have not solved the world’s problems or made people happier.” Stress that the main thing missing in people’s lives is spiritual knowledge and the wisdom that teaches us how to be happy from within.

4. For non Indian locations, explain how the books are based on ancient Vedic texts and that they are used in universities and have been read by great scholars like Einstein and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

5. Describe that there is a small donation box along with the books, so if someone wants to donate, he can put money in the box. Point out that the donation is voluntary and goes for printing and distribution. In other words there is no commercial, profit making motive. You can also emphasize that when people give something in return for spiritual knowledge they get one thousand times the benefit when they read it.

6. Tell them that they do not have to worry about the box; we will go there regularly and check if more books are needed and so on.

7. If they are favorable and want you to place the box, go to your car and get the box and bring it in for placement.

8. Go for a prominent spot so that will see it easily. A place near the cashier is ideal, as people can have a look at the books while waiting to make the payment. (Often times they already have a designated area for these kinds of things. That’s Okay too as long as the Smart Box can been seen.)

9. Give them prasadam and copy of the Bhagavad gita, or another book of their choice.

10. Congratulate them for participating in a program that will help make the world and better place.

Once you have set up the box, put some money in the donation box to start with. This will encourage other people to put in more as they take the books.

And most important, offer the owner/manager and all employees some of your best, specially prepared prasadam.

Finally make sure to invite them to your temple programs, give your contact details and ask him/her to contact you if there is any problem.

Recording and Checking

Each location should be recorded with the team coordinator and team members should thereafter check their respective smart boxes regularly.

The experience of Team ISV indicates that the books will need to be restocked about once every 7-10 days. Location managers should have a number to call in case the books run out before your scheduled visit.

When collecting the donations it is best to leave some behind so the box is not empty.

New books can be added as needed. The types of books should be changed on a regular basis with new titles.

Each visit should be recorded with the program coordinator including:
1) Who visited the location
2) Date of visit
3) Name of Contact
4) Name of Store
5) Address , phone and email information
6) The number and type of books distributed
7) Seed money placed
8) The money collected
9) Money left
10) Comments