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Industry

The vending machines printing stories on demand

To encourage more people to read on their commutes, vending machines printing short stories on-demand have arrived in the UK.

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A reader selects a story at Café Zoetrope in San Francisco. Photo: Olivier Alexandre/Short Édition

The brainchild of French start-up firm Short Édition, the machines print short stories on-demand for free in a bid to make literature more accessible for all.

The company was founded in 2011 and launched the Short Story Dispenser in 2015 and since then, the dispensers have printed more than four million short stories from 8,000 independent authors, as well as some familiar names.

The printers offer passers-by the option of selecting one, three and five-minute reads and then prints an original short story onto scroll, eco-friendly paper.

Three machines were installed in Canary Wharf, London in April by the company’s exclusive UK distributor, All Urban. The Sheffield business specialises in suppling street furniture for developments around the country.

Paul Collings, director of All Urban comments: “The exclusive UK install of Short Édition at Canary Wharf London has been a great milestone for All Urban who are the exclusive UK supplier for the story dispenser.

Short Édition is available for trial and we urge interested businesses to contact us and register their interest to try the machine out for themselves

“The launch was very successful and was picked up by the BBC, Time Out and Guardian to name a few, all of which got behind our cause which is to get people reading more.

“Short Édition is available for trial and we urge interested businesses to contact us and register their interest to try the machine out for themselves.”

The machines are installed in waiting areas and on commuter routes from train stations to hotels and universities to make waiting or travelling a more enjoyable experience. 

Film director Francis Ford Coppola became one of Short Édition’s key investors after he read an article about the concept online, even having the machines installed at his San Francisco restaurant Café Zoetrope and at his wineries across California.

As well as offering the printed the stories on-demand, over 100,000 works of literature have been published on the Short Édition website.

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