SAN FRANCISCO -- The Kimpton Group's Monticello Inn here is installing in-room "book honor bars" with 10 paperback books in its 91 rooms.

Not to be confused with lending libraries, these collections are for sale: You read it, you bought it.

The 10 books in each room are shrink-wrapped in plastic. Once the plastic is opened, the book goes on the guest's hotel bill, much like a bag of potato chips opened in the honor bar.

General manager Michael Page said the idea came to Kimpton marketers when they brainstormed how they could better use the theme of Thomas Jefferson's colonial home, after which the hotel is named, to promote the hotel's newly redecorated rooms.

"Thomas Jefferson had a passion for books, and he donated his collection to start the Library of Congress," Page said.

The idea evolved into the "honor bar" concept with the help of Borders Books & Music on Union Square a couple of blocks away. The first rooms to feature the books are the hotel's suites; all rooms are expected to have them by June.

Also by June, the telephones in each room will have a direct line to Borders so that hotel guests can call the store and purchase a book or a CD, which will be delivered to their rooms within an hour.

Page said guests can order "a magazine, a guide book" -- anything that Borders carries -- and it will be simply added to the guest's hotel bills.

As part of the plan, Kimpton is donating 25% of the price of each book bought in the "honor bar" to the nonprofit arm of the San Francisco Public Library system.

The Monticello Inn is recognizing National Book Month with special rates through Feb. 28 of $119 for a standard room and $179 for a suite.

For more information, contact the hotel at (800) 669-7777.

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