Monkey Paw — The Toronto Bookstore with a Used Book Vending Machine

In the many oddball curio shops that I’ve encountered in my travels, Monkey Paw in Toronto is one of the coolest. It’s claim to fame is the Biblio-Mat, a $2CAD used book vending machine in the back of the store.


The machine says it all: “Every book is a surprise. No two alike. Collect all 112 Million Titles” Well then, I need to get $224 million Canadian dollars.

As my little video shows, all you need is a toonie coin, which they can make change for you in case you don’t have one. Put that bad boy in and watch the excitement:

Alien Baptism and the Baptists by W.M. Nevins is what I got, which sounds like a lost Smiths B-side album. It’s filled with scripture and poems that leaved me befuddled. It’s from 1951 and here’s what Amazon says about itArguments presented in this book: 1. We have a God-given pattern for baptism. 2. The Baptists, called Anabaptists, have alone preserved this pattern through the ages. 3. The division in Christendom has come through a failure to keep the pattern. 4. Alien baptism is a modern innovation among Baptists. 5. It cost our fathers to keep the pattern. 6. Shall we be true to the Scripture and the faith of our fathers?

My thoughts exactly.

Located on Bloor Street West opposite the Landsdown metro stop, the book shop has load of antique books spanning every subject you can think of, but be prepared to pay a hefty price for that rare Penguin Book softcover. I was eyeballing a yoga book from 1961 that would have set me back $20.

If you’re curious of how the machine works, there’s a video that shows you the mechanics. It’s basically a pulley system:

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