French Vending Machines Fill Your Mind with Nourishing Short Stories, Not Your Body with Junk Food

If you’re thirsty, a vend­ing machine is usu­al­ly close by. (Espe­cial­ly if you’re in Japan. You’re prob­a­bly stand­ing right next to one right now!) But what if you have time to kill and you’re thirsty for lit­er­a­ture? Then the Short Édi­tion vend­ing machine might be for you. Choose one of three buttons—one min­utes, three min­utes, or five minutes—and the cylin­dri­cal machine, cur­rent­ly avail­able in France, will print out an appro­pri­ate­ly-long short sto­ry to read on a receipt-like piece of paper.short story vending machine

Short Édi­tion co-founder Quentin Ple­ple says the idea came to him, where else, at a vend­ing machine, while on break with co-work­ers.“We thought it would be cool to have it for short sto­ries. Then, a cou­ple of days lat­er we decid­ed to hack a pro­to­type.”

Though peo­ple spend a lot of their free time on their pock­et devices, the Short Édi­tion is anoth­er attempt–like the short sto­ries Chipo­tle print­ed on the side of its drink­ing cups–to free us from a life of star­ing at glow­ing rec­tan­gles. It’s tan­gi­ble yet dis­pos­able at the same time.

At the turn of the 20th cen­tu­ry automa­tion and vend­ing machines looked to be the wave of the future, where every­thing would be done for us on com­mand. And that has hap­pened in a total­ly dif­fer­ent way, through the micro­proces­sor. It just did­n’t hap­pen through the vend­ing machine, at least not in Amer­i­ca, where they most­ly dis­pense food, drink, and cig­a­rettes. Like high speed rail, Japan has picked up the slack and made the world rethink the machine’s pos­si­bil­i­ties all over again. It now looks like France and Poland (where you can find Haru­ki Muraka­mi nov­els being sold in vend­ing machines) are catch­ing on.

The Short Édi­tion vend­ing machines, cur­rent­ly only avail­able in eight loca­tions in Greno­ble, France, draw from a data­base of 600 sto­ries cho­sen by the com­mu­ni­ty at Short Édition’s web­site, which counts 1,100 authors as mem­bers. Pre­sum­ably, all these sto­ries are in French.

While new, the machines have gath­ered enough media atten­tion to attract inquiries from Italy and the Unit­ed States. So look out, you might find one in your area soon.

via Huff Po

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Sup­port “Green Reads,” a Pro­gram That Finances Libraries by Dis­trib­ut­ing Used Books in Eco-Friend­ly Vend­ing Machines

Haru­ki Muraka­mi Nov­els Sold in Pol­ish Vend­ing Machines

Isaac Asi­mov Pre­dicts in 1964 What the World Will Look Like Today

Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Tips on How to Write a Good Short Sto­ry

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the FunkZone Pod­cast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at and/or watch his films here.

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