Craving a Read? Vending Machine Dispenses Short Stories

Craving a Read? Vending Machine Dispenses Short Stories
Arts & Culture

Residents in Grenoble are being encouraged to kill time in way that doesn't involve checking emails or texting

Emma Hutchings
  • 23 october 2015

A number of short story dispensers have been installed in public spaces in the French city of Grenoble, offering residents the chance to pass the time by reading. The stories are printed onto paper and people can choose the length they desire in order to receive an original written piece for free.

The stylish machines distribute short stories to those who would like something to read for a few minutes while they have some free time. Instead of checking their emails, sending a text or playing a mobile game, the publishing company behind this initiative, Short Edition, hopes they might choose to read a story. This analog take on killing time in a digital-first world is a nice way of trying to encourage people to get reading rather than using technology.

The one-meter tall black-and-orange machine dispenses a small piece of paper similar to a receipt. Its simple yet elegant interface features three numbered buttons that relate to the amount of time a story takes to read: one minute, three minutes or five minutes. Once a person has pressed one of the buttons, it is left up to chance as they receive a random story that might surprise them, move them, make them laugh or get them thinking.


The original short stories have been written by authors from the Short Edition community. This initiative was made possible due to the involvement of the City of Grenoble authority, which has chosen to promote the development of culture in public spaces so it is accessible to all residents of the city.

Eight locations were selected for this pilot project (including libraries, the city hall and the tourism office), with the dispensers spread across the city. The team at Short Edition came up with the idea while standing in front of a standard vending machine and thought it would be good to provide quality literature to occupy people during unproductive moments.

Short Edition

+Short Edition

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