Vending Machine of the Day: the Biblio-Mat

Feeling lucky?

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Craig Small

For the Japanese, who claim the highest number of vending machines per capita, visiting the United States is going from feast to famine. America's selection of coin-acquired goods seems to have actually declined from the heyday of gelatinous hand dispensers and Automats (Amsterdam currently has a thriving network of the latter).

Even our well-mannered Northern neighbor is getting ahead. At the Toronto bookshop Monkey's Paw (named after the terrifying W. W. Jacobs short story), Craig Small has designed the Biblio-Mat, a vending machine for the used books.

Intended to address the large quantity of used books that typically sit in bins outside a bookstore (too weird to profit from, too rare to recycle), the Biblio-Mat dispenses a random used book for $2. Like the Random Wikipedia Generator (click that link as many times as you want), it offers the pleasure of knowledge without the burden of choice.

For the price of a bottle of water, why not take your chances with the Biblio-Mat in a train station or an airport?

HT DesignBoom.

About the Author

  • Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.