When French company Short Edition brought five minute stories to vending machines in France we were absolutely thrilled. The short stories are just the right length to be read while you’re waiting for a train and the idea itself is exciting and innovative.
Soon afterwards we heard that the vending machines had gone worldwide and had spread to North America and several other European countries too. However, we still hadn’t seen any in the UK. All that is now changing, as the first of these machines appears in London, and the first short story is penned by Anthony Horowitz.
The vending machines have been installed at train stations and busy commuter areas around the world and dispense free one minute, three minute, and five minute stories to passers by. While the idea might not appeal to ardent reading addicts who always have a book to hand, we encourage anything that gets more people reading, especially as literacy is in such decline.
The three machines were unveiled in Canary Wharf this week and are the first I the UK. The first story is by Anthony Horowitz, but we’re promised genres from sci-fi to romance and even children’s fiction. Horowitz said that it proved a challenge to write a story that could be read between two train stations, he chose a whodunit and enjoyed rising to the challenge of creating a very short story with a resolution that would make people smile.
As Horowitz pointed out, many today as sitting on the train playing on apps, playing games, and looking at old tweets so to draw them into a story, even a short one which is literature with a very small ‘l’ is worthwhile and exciting!
It’s not the first time this idea has come to fruition, in the 1930s Penguin launched the Penguincubator on Charing Cross Road, and in 2016 Singapore came up with a similar book vending machine.
We can only hope these machines are rolled out nationwide soon, as we think they are fantastic!