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Owner of The Monkey’s Paw used-book store in Toronto, Stephen Fowler, has created a vending machine for book lovers who want a thrill of the moment experience.

Flower wanted to design a product to promote “old and unusual” books, all while creating a sense of mystery. “The Biblio-Mat” is a vintage-looking book vending machine that dispenses random used books for two dollars. This is the perfect way to entertain customers, due to the element of surprise.

Stephen Fowler, on NPR, commented how at the beginning of his chapter (see what we did there) he wanted to paint the refrigerator box to make is resemble a regular vending machine.

“Originally, I thought maybe we would just have a refrigerator box and paint it to look like a vending machine,and put a skinny assistant of mine inside and have him drop books out when people put a coin in.”

The machine was designed by animator, director, and designer Craig Small in 2012. Small used an old storage locker that he purchased for $120 to keep the Biblio-Mat inside. The design of the machine resembles the inside of The Monkey’s Paw store, vintage and bright, which can be seen from the colors and font used to decorate the outside.

Each book is loaded into a column, which then rises when money is inserted. Once processed the top book will rest at a 45-degree angle, falling once it is at the edge.

“The Biblio-Mat” is powered by and Arduino microprocessor and has a small computer that detects the size of the inserted coins. The machine also includes an antique telephone bell that rings once a book is chosen and is on it’s way down.

The Biblio Mat

Small took a course of three months to build the machine, and has been the talk of the town since. This is a great way to keep customers on their toes by not knowing what kind of genre one might get. Serendipity at it’s finest!

It’s easy to say The Biblio-Mat is the invention for book lovers who didn’t know they needed, but wanted. Looks like we all need head out to Canada to try it out!

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