Anna Gragert
November 19, 2015 12:08 pm

We’ve never been happier to be a part of the 21st-century because there are now vending machines that print short stories.

Instead of sodas and snacks, streamlined black and orange vending machines are currently dispensing short stories around the city of Grenoble, France. The best part: the stories are FREE. Instead of spending your unoccupied time on your phone, publishing company Short Édition wants people to embrace the art of print media in the digital age.

Say you’re waiting for your chosen form of transportation. Your train/plane/bus/boat/automobile will be arriving in five minutes. At first, you decide to seek entertainment on your phone – but then, out of the corner of your eye, you notice something. It’s a machine that you’ve never seen before, so you decide to investigate because your curiosity cannot be contained. As you get closer, you see three buttons with numbers above them: 1, 3, and 5. Since you now have about three minutes left to wait, you press the corresponding number. And out pops a three-minute short story because magic is real.

“The idea came to us in front of a vending machine containing chocolate bars and drinks,” explained Short Édition’s co-founder Christophe Sibieude. “We said to ourselves that we could do the same thing with good quality popular literature to occupy these little unproductive moments.”

Each short story is written by a member of the Short Édition community. While you do get to choose the time limit, you do not get to choose the genre. It’s like a game of chance for people who love to read!

So far, eight vending machines are being placed in Grenoble’s libraries, city hall, tourism office, and other public places. After this initial phase, Short Édition hopes to expand across the globe. Sibieude stated, “Anyone who wants to place short story dispensers in their shops, malls or waiting areas are welcome to get in touch with us.” (So… if every city in the world could give this company a call, that would be great. Please and thank you.)

Fortunately for bibliophiles everywhere, this isn’t the only initiative that aims to get people to read more. There’s Cluj-Napopca, Romania’s Travel By Book, which offers free train and bus rides to any commuter who’s reading a print novel. The Toronto Public Library is adding book lending kiosks to Toronto’s Union Station. As for Boston, they have the Bibliocycle and Storymobile, which offer free books to passersby.

After all is said and done, we have to say that these new vending machines are a WIN for the reading community. You go, print media!

Related reading: 

Great short reads from lady authors you can find online

[Images via Twitter]

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