2018: the Year of Short-Story Vending Machines

Written by Morgan Southworth

In 2015, there were only a few machines in France that produced short stories at the press of a button. Today, there are copies of these machines around the world, with thirty in the United States alone.

The concept is simple: Short Edition, a French publishing company, began creating machines that print short stories you could read on the go. These machines are located in public places like hotels, museums, train stations, etc. A short story—varying from one to three to five minutes in length—is printed from an online database of more than 100,000 submissions chosen from various writing contests and picked by Short Edition’s judges. These stories are printed on a long piece of paper resembling a receipt, and the stories printed are chosen at random. You won’t know what kind of story you have until you read it. The condensed length makes these stories very accessible to non-readers or to those in a rush. Even if the story does not contain a plot or theme you are normally fond of, the stories are easily digestible and will keep you entertained while you wait for the bus or take a quick break before continuing your errands. The next story you print is just as likely to be up your particular genre-loving alley as not, so there’s no reason not to come back for more.

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New Shakespeare and Co. Stores Open Later This Year

Written by Morgan Southworth

For those of you who may be unaware, Shakespeare and Co. is a café and bookstore combination that, in addition to the Lexington Avenue, Manhattan location that already exists, will soon open three more locations around the northeastern United States. One store will open around the Rittenhouse Square area in Philadelphia this summer while the two remaining stores will open later this year as additional Manhattan locations. One will be located in Greenwich Village and the other on Upper West Side Broadway, as according to Publishers Weekly.

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How Fiction Does Not Exist In A Vacuum

By Morgan Southworth

A couple of weeks ago, a LitHub article discussed the pros and cons of “Why It’s Ok to Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle Fiction.” The article specifically focused on Sadia Shepard’s recently published short story “Foreign-Returned,” which plucks clear elements from Mavis Gallant’s 1963 short story “The Ice Wagon Going down the Street.” In an interview, Shepard said she owed a “great debt” to Gallant’s story, and that while Gallant’s story is about a family formerly from Geneva currently living in Canada who face financial struggles, she thought it felt “so Pakistani.” This was a clear inspiration for Shepard’s retelling of Gallant’s story.

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California Wildfires Threaten Booksellers

Written by Morgan Southworth

The California wildfires have been particularly brutal this year, and they’re not over yet. As of December 11, Southern California wildfire Thomas is larger than the size of New York City and only about 20% has been contained. Granted, it’s only one of six fires in the state that have destroyed more than 1,000 structures. Hundreds of thousands of acres have already been consumed by the flames. Human safety is obviously the first priority on everyone’s minds. However, one issue that seems to be near the bottom of people’s lists is the threat of fire for California booksellers.

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E-book Pirates Ransack the Publishing Industry

Written by Morgan Southworth

Earlier this year, Joanna Penn, author of several fictional thrillers and nonfiction books marketed to other authors (like How to Make a Living with your Writing and How to Market a Book) wrote that “the idea that piracy costs authors money is based on a mistaken premise.” In her writing, she went on to outline three different scenarios: one where a reader happens to accidentally stumble across an illegal copy of your book online and downloads it out of curiosity; one where a reader with no money to legally buy the book instead illegally downloads a copy; and one where a reader with money to spare illegally downloads your book because they’re a jerk.

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