France Introduces Short Story Vending Machines

When we think of vending machines, we tend to think of sweets, crisps, snacks, and drinks. But as we’ve pointed out a number of times on this blog, there are many companies out there who push the boundaries, challenging the way we think about vending and vending machines.

The latest innovation comes from French publishing house Short Edition, which introduced eight vending machines to various locations in the city of Grenoble. But rather than dispensing snacks and drinks, these machines instead dispense short stories.

At a touch of a button, citizens of Grenoble can receive a free short story that’s printed on a roll of paper, just like a till receipt. You can choose between a one minute, three minute, or five minute story, depending on how much time you want to kill on your commute. And with over 600 stories to choose from, you’re quite unlikely to get the same story twice.

These literature vending machines are already a hit. In just two weeks, over 10,000 stories were apparently printed, and Short Edition claim that they’re getting requests from countries as far afield as Russia, Australia, and Taiwan for similar machines.

In a statement from Short Edition, the publishing house claimed that the short stories were intended to fill “the dead time of a commute in a society where daily lives are moving quicker and quicker and where time is becoming precious.

“In the bus, the tram or the metro, everyone can make the most of these moments to read short stories, poems, or short comics. And they can be sure to enjoy the ending.”

According to Short Edition co-founder Quentin Pleplé, the idea for the short story vending machine struck him during a break, when he visited a traditional snack vending machine. “We thought it would be cool to have it for short stories,” he said. “Then, a couple of days later, we decided to hack a prototype: the short story vending machine was born.”


The sheer possibilities when it comes to vending machines will never cease to amaze us. It’s starting to feel like there’s nothing they can’t do.