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