Standard American vending machines sell items like chips, candy, gum and soda. In New York City, we’ve found five quirky ATMs that sell more unusual things such as bike parts and Sprinkle Cupcakes. But no vending machine in the U.S. has yet produced anything as radical or progressive as those recently installed in the French city of Grenoble, which dispense poetry and short stories for free to readers.
The project was founded by a French publishing company, Short Édition, in partnership with the city’s green party mayor, Eric Piolle. According to the website Konboni, last year Piolle also made headlines for banning advertisements in Grenoble. Now, Piolle and Short Édition have installed eight vending machines in various public areas around the city, including the town hall, the tourist center, libraries and social centers. Each machine allows you to click either a one minute, three minute, or five minute button that then produces a story on receipt-like paper.
The project is an effort to get people off their smartphones and more engaged with literature. Christophe Sibieude, co-founder, told Agence-France Presse that the inspiration came while waiting in front of a chocolate candy machine. He thought, “we could do the same thing with good quality popular literature to occupy these little unproductive moments.” Members of the Short Édition community provide original writing, in an effort to stimulate the practice and development of writing, according to Inverse.
Next, check out the baguette ATM in Paris and these five quirky ATMs and vending machines you can find in New York.