The Monkey's Paw – Toronto, Ontario - Atlas Obscura
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Toronto, Ontario

The Monkey's Paw

A book collector's dream, The Monkey's Paw in Toronto has the world's first "Biblio-Mat", a random book vending machine. 

All of the books lining the shelves of Stephen Fowler’s bookstore are ones you couldn’t possibly find anywhere else.

Fowler opened The Monkey’s Paw in March 2006 and since then, it has been a haven for antiquarians, complete with medical drawings on the wall and a stuffed crow on a typewriter.

The unusual store, named after a horror short story by author W.W. Jacobs, has old books that range from topics as diverse as the art of predicting female character traits according to breast shape to Canadian Egg Laying Contests.

Fowler selects each book to fit these categories: the beautiful, the arcane, the macabre and the absurd. Monkey’s Paw also has a custom-made Biblio-Mat, a vending machine that will dispense a randomly selected vintage volume when a token is inserted. Tokens can be purchased from the checkout for $3 apiece.