Short Edition Unveils On-Demand Short Stories

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You can download ebooks to your phone or tablet with the touch of a button, but one publisher has installed vending machines that will spit out short stories on demand.

Short Édition has rolled out a series of vending machines throughout the city of Grenoble that will print out free short stories in the reader’s preferred length of one, three, of five minutes of reading. The stories come from Short Édition’s database of community-sourced fiction, with readers selecting 600 stories for the vending machines out of a pile of 60,000 stories.

Readers don’t get to pick the genre—you might spend five minutes reading a romance packed in tight with other commuters—the entire idea centers around the length of the read, not the content.

“We are getting requests from all over the world,” Quentin Pleplé, the co-founder of Short Édition, told The Guardian “Australia, the U.S., Canada, Russia, Greece, Italy, Spain, Chile, Taiwan.” Pleplé and his people are “meticulously” picking the next cities to get the literary vending machines.

In the two weeks since the machines made their first appearance throughout Grenoble, Pleplé says that more than 10,000 stories have been printed out by readers.

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