This Short Story Vending Machine Brings Literature to Unexpected Places

This unique machine spits out short stories from over 6,000 authors with the push of a button.
Kashyap Vyas
The photo credit line may appear like thisShort Edition

If there’s one thing that is common to all successful people, it is their reading habit. There are countless benefits of reading, and literally none for not.

Reading empowers your mind to broaden its range and expands your ability to imagine in different ways. It essentially makes you more empathetic and resilient, while growing your emotional intelligence and intellectual capacities.

Given our fast-moving life of the 21st century though, finding time to read is not easy for many. “There’s no time to read” is something that we hear or experience in our personal lives.

But for those of you who crave for reading, the Short Story Dispenser from Short Edition can save you. The story vending machine essentially allows you to spend at least some time reading.

The machine doesn’t spit out books or send the stories to your smartphone or Kindle. But with the push of a button, you get a short story printed on a long strip of paper that’s similar to grocery receipts.

This Short Story Vending Machine Brings Literature to Unexpected Places
Source: MisallocatedRacism/Reddit

You have an option to choose from 1-minute, 3-minute and 5-minute story to read, depending on how long you would want to indulge in the imaginative world while waiting at mall, restaurants or transportation hubs. The stories are randomly chosen from a digital library of works by more than 6000 authors in the Short Edition’s community.

The free stories are evaluated first by Short Edition’s judges and are then transmitted over a mobile network. The company gets these stories by holding writing contests.

The innovative vending machines were first debuted in 2016 and since then over 150 such dispensers have been installed across train stations, universities, airports, cafes and government offices worldwide. Each machine consists of curated stories to suit the location-specific audiences.

The network of these orange and black story vending machines is growing already. Francis Ford Coppola, the film director, and winemaker, also liked the idea of story vending machine and got it installed at his Café Zeotrope in San Francisco.


Even the public libraries in Philadelphia, Ohio, Wichita, and Columbia made an announcement to install these valuable machines. You’ll find one installed at the Penn State campus and a couple more in downtown West Palm Beach, Florida.

The idea behind installing these story vending machines is to encourage reading, while also promoting the works of their authors to wider audiences. “We want to create a platform for independent artists, like the Sundance Institute,” said Kristan Leroy, the export director at Short Edition.

This Short Story Vending Machine Brings Literature to Unexpected Places
Source: Short Edition

As an operator, the machine will cost you around $9,200 along with $190 per month for content and software. Depending on the audience, you can select from Short Edition’s catalog to customize the content.

“The idea is to make people happy,” Leroy said. “There is too much doom and gloom today.”

We just wish that these story vending machines keep growing in numbers all over the globe.


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