Vending Machines

This Vending Machine Has A Story To Tell

French publisher rolls out short story-dispensing machines in train stations in order to entertain riders and promote the company’s work.

Any train or subway commuter will tell you the importance of having a diversion to help pass the time during the trip to and from work. But what happens when your smartphone or eBook dies during your journey?

Short Édition, a French publishing house specializing in short stories, may have a solution. The company recently rolled out a series of vending machines that will provide short stories to commuters for free, according to a report by Metro.

This literary vending machine is just the latest in a rising trend of new types of machines. As has been reported in the PYMNTS Unattended Retail Tracker, vending machines that depart from the usual fare and offer consumers anything from hot pizza to a short story are on the rise.

Commuters can choose a story that will take either one, three or five minutes to read, according to reports. The machines will then print stories on paper, with topics ranging from children’s stories to lyrical poetry, free of charge. More than 5,000 authors have submitted stories for the new program.

The machines were first given a trial run at the Grenoble train station, located in the province of Isère, last year and were so popular that Short Édition decided to roll them out around the country.

Now, commuters at 24 stations around France can have a story on-demand when they board their next train. The company also said it plans to introduce 11 new machines at other stations by the end of the year.

According to the publishing house’s director, Christophe Sibieude, the machines were designed to help shine a light both on the act of reading and on the company’s team of authors.

“Our ambition is to see distributors pop up everywhere to encourage reading — and writing — and to promote our artists,” Sibieude told reporters.

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About The Tracker

The Unattended Retail TrackerTM, powered by USA Technologies, tracks the movers and shakers in this space and ranks and scores the providers using this new channel to respond to changing consumer needs. We’ve sliced this ecosystem into the distinct categories that make sense for our audience: Food & BeverageVending, Service VendingRemote RetailParking and Restaurant & Hospitality.


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Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. In the December 2019 Mobile Card App Adoption Study, PYMNTS surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers for a reveal of the four most compelling features apps must have to engage users and drive greater adoption.

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