The Monkey’s Paw Bookstore Launches the Biblio-mat Book Vending Machine

The Monkey’s Paw Bookstore Launches the Biblio-mat Book Vending Machine Bookstore This next device isn't quite as sophisticated as the book and ebook vending machines made by major manufacturers, or the POD setups like the Espresso Book Machine, but it is cool nonetheless. Quill & Quire reported earlier this week about a new piece of equipment which was recently installed in a Toronto-based bookstore.

The Monkey’s Paw bills itself as “Toronto’s most idiosyncratic second-hand bookshop", so it should come as no surprise that this bookstore has a one-of-a-kind book machine. The Biblio-mat was built by Craig Small, a friend of shop owner Stephen Fowler, and it dispenses books when customers put in $2.

The books dispensed by the machine were picked at random by Stephen, and were largely drawn from the books which would have been found in the $1-a-book bargain basket sitting out in front of most used bookstores.

Stephen sees the machine more as an art project than as a practical revenue generator, which is fitting for a store with window displays aimed to startle unassuming pedestrians and a collection of insect taxonomies on display. It's still in beta, and with a couple exceptions customers' responses have generally been positive. "Of the people who have used the thing so far, almost every person has been pleasantly surprised and completely amused," Stephen said. "I can think of two people who were dissatisfied with the book they got, but I can only assume they were people lacking in imagination and enthusiasm. In fact, this is something I’ve observed in the used-book trade: people are always looking for meaning. They’ll get a book and feel as though it was psychically selected for them."

via Quill & Quire

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

4 Comments

  1. The Rodent16 November, 2012

    Oh, I love this project, right down to the retro look…

    Reply
  2. Gary26 November, 2012

    “Collect all 112 million titles”
    Now that’s a challenge that’s got me twitching! What a pity I’m in Scotland and the shop’s stuck in Toronto…

    Reply
  3. bill23 March, 2013

    Having lived in SF,Mr Fowler may know Green Apple Books,which has a version of the Bibliomat, but thru the mail,which I wish the Monkey’s Paw wd do.Pay yr bread and each month a book arrives

    Reply
  4. […] With the first known book vending machine having been invented nearly 200 years ago, the idea isn't new. Penguin promoted the concept during its early years (when it was still a paperback-publishing outsider), and indie bookstores have developed custom designs. […]

    Reply

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