New French Vending Machines Dispense Free Short Stories

In News by Dennis Abrams

Eight “Short Édition” vending machines are being set up throughout Grenoble, France to dispense free short stories to the reading public.

By Dennis Abrams

At Digital Trends, Lulu Chong looked at something new in vending machines: the Short Edition machines set up in Grenoble France under the leadership of the city’s mayor, Green Party member Eric Piolle.

Eight of these machines will be located throughout the center of the city. Stories are printed free of charge, and readers can select between one, three, or even five-minute stories.

The machines are the brainchild of Christophe Sibieude, the publisher of start-up Short Edition, whose app, with over 140,000 subscribers “powers the vending machines with users themselves creating content for the printouts.”

“The idea came to us in front of a vending machine containing chocolate bars and drinks,” Sibieude told the AFP. “We said to ourselves that we could do the same thing with good quality popular literature to occupy these little unproductive moments.”

But according to Sibieude, Piolle gets a good deal of the credit.

“We are trying to re-imagine the city center as a place of shared experiences,” the mayor said in an interview with the AFP. “We are trying to launch a revolution, and the objective is to build a wider and calmer downtown area.”

At this time the Short Édition vending machines are only available in Grenoble, but the company has high hopes for its future. “We are getting a lot of requests from all over the world for this invention,” Short Édition co-founder Quentin Pleple told the RT. “Once we sort out our costs, we will ship these machines anywhere – for maybe a month, several months or even for a few years.”

Imagine a city center filled with people not glued to their phones, but to actual paper reading an actual short story.

Pretty damn cool if you ask me.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.