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Edmonton Airport Wastes Money on a Short Story Printer

So the latest hot and trendy bookish gimmick is a receipt printer that has been gussied up as a "vending machine" that prints short stories. This fad is the work of a French startup called First Editions, which has been selling these machines since 2011.

Now Quill and Quire  reports that one of these machines was installed at Edmonton International Airport in Canada.

Waiting in line at the Edmonton International Airport just got a bit less boring thanks to the recent addition of a short story vending machine. With the punch of a button on the Short Story Dispenser, weary travellers can select a free one-, three-, or five-minute read by a local author, which is printed on a “papyrus” – a small scroll of paper much like the receipt you get from an ATM.

The machine is the creation of French startup Short Edition, which has placed 150 Short Story Dispensers in cafés, schools, and public venues since the company’s founding in 2011. The Edmonton machine is only the second in an airport, however, with the first being at Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport in France.

I was underwhelmed when these printers were first announced because they are, well, just receipt printers.

This would be an interesting project for a hacker working out of their basement and showing off the device on Hackaday. I mean, you can buy one of these printers online, have a case designed to cover it, and then get a college student to bang together code to print stories. It’s really not that difficult.

But as a commercial product from a startup, this device is about as interesting and innovative as the startup that charged you $27 to mail you $20 in quarters.

Why does everyone find this so exciting?

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BDR January 16, 2018 um 11:12 am

While you’re right about this being a very dumb idea, that airport no doubt rented out the space for the machine to the vendor SO they probably made money from the deal.

Likely, they’re the only ones who will.

Frank January 18, 2018 um 9:37 am

Anything that encourages people to read more seems good to me.

Bob Tudley January 22, 2018 um 4:03 pm

I’ll be in the Edmonton airport this weekend. I’ll keep an eye out for this thing.

kricky April 4, 2018 um 2:15 am

I can confirm that the Edmonton Airport does not make money of the Short Story Dispenser, on the contrary t is a cost for them to improve the traveler’s experience and offer a snack for the brain. The aim is to provide free fiction to those who either do not read anymore or encourage literacy with travelling families. Where is the evil in that? The icing on the cake is that local authors in Edmonton have gathered together to contribute to the platform so that international travellers can enjoy literature written by local 'artists' – again this is purely a community effort with no money involved so where is the evil in that? This local literature will also be featured in TED in Vancouver next week to promote CANADIAN writers. This is digital positive dude not some gimmick.

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