French Vending Machines Dispense Short Stories

Orange vending machines at French train stations dispense short stories, fairytales and poems written by young and aspiring writers.

Almost everyone has experienced the following situation before: you’re sitting in a train during your daily commute, and everyone’s gaze is fixated downwards at a tiny screen. People on trains and in buses get bored easily, especially on long journeys, and most of them look at their phones for distraction and entertainment.

In France, publishing agency Short Édition came up with a fun and inspiring project to change this and promote both young writers and classic literature. Instead of chocolate bars or canned soda, the orange vending machines, which have already been installed at over 35 transit stations, dispense short stories printed on paper. Dubbed as “a journey before the journey”, commuters can choose between reading lengths of 1, 3 or 5 minutes.

According to French train company SNCF, the little machines have already provided more than 100,000 passengers with an on-the-go piece of classic literature, short story, fairytale or poetry. The choice is random, but it never fails to enrich public transport with a piece of culture not bound to a smartphone screen. Short Édition’s vending machines will hopefully continue to encourage more and more commuters to go back to the basics of printed literature for a little while.