This Vending Machine Sells Short Stories Instead Of Soda & Chips

This Vending Machine Sells Short Stories Instead Of Soda & Chips

Alyssa Girdwain

Fiction writing just got high tech, and we’re loving it.

The next time you hear some dude say, “Nobody reads anymore” — send him this article.

A startup in France just made short-story dispensers that give people a free, original story with the push of a button — much like a vending machine.

Here’s a photo of one:

The French company Short Édition began as a free publishing platform for amateur writers. Soon, they had more than 10,000 contributors. The company’s founders had the idea for a short story generator as they chatted around a vending machine during a work break.

“The written word isn’t dead,” company head Christophe Sibieude tells the New Yorker. The novelty of a physical text still exists, only now it’s adapted for our modern lifestyles. It’s as easy to pick up a story as it is to grab a cup of coffee during your morning commute.

The dispensers spit stories out on receipt paper. You can choose between one-, three- or five-minute reading times. The stories come from Short Édition’s arsenal of tens of thousands of pieces. Online, users vote for their favorite stories. Some are published as e-books, audiobooks or (yes) traditional books, and others make their way into the vending machines.

In 2015, Short Édition installed the first dispensers in public spaces in Grenoble, a town in the French Alps. The goal was to get more people talking about literature and storytelling.

The machines have since spread throughout France, Hong Kong and Australia — and are starting to pop up in the US. Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola was the first to rent a machine here in America. He put it in his San Francisco restaurant, Café Zoetrope. There’s also a Short Édition machine on the Penn State campus and another at the Prudential Center in Boston.

So the next time someone claims people don’t read anymore, maybe the fact that over 600,000 stories have been distributed will change his mind. It proves that it can be worth taking a break from your Instagram feed to read a good story.

The end.