Calling all bookworms: Here’s how to get a free short story at the airport

Nov 2, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

You may spend more time looking at your phone these days than reading a book, magazine or newspaper when you travel. But some airports around the country are trying to entice passengers to take a minute, or three, to read a free, randomly chosen story printed out at a kiosk.

In October, Oakland International Airport (OAK) installed an on-demand short story dispenser in each of its two terminals. Dane County Regional Airport (MSN) in Madison, WI installed a short story dispenser last month as well.

The kiosks, invented by French Company, Short Edition, allow walk-up users to request a free print-out of a story that will take an estimated one minute, three minutes or five minutes to read. There are also short stories just for kids.

Short Edition’s database of more than 10,000 stories includes brief classics by well-known authors such as Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, James Joyce and Edgar Allan Poe along with a growing list of work by modern day writers who submit their short stories for consideration and receive royalties each time one of their stories is printed out.

To get a story, a kiosk user simply selects a story length, pushes a button and, in less than a minute, a printed story unfurls on eco-friendly paper that uses no ink or cartridge.

Short story dispensers may soon pop up in many more airports, but for now you’ll also find these fun (and educational) kiosks in the Virtual Library in the Terminal D-C connector at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL); in the atrium area of Ohio’s Akron-Canton Airport (courtesy of the Akron-Summit County Public Library and the Knight Foundation); and in Lansing, Michigan at the Capital Region International Airport (LAN).

In Canada, the short story dispenser at Edmonton International Airport (YEG) includes the work of more than 100 local authors, and in France, you’ll find short story dispensers at the Paris- Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) T2 (in the rail area), at the Lyon-Saint-Exupéry Airport (LYS) and at the Nantes Atlantique Airport (NTE).

Have a hankering to read a short story right now but not traveling through any of these airports? You can read thousands of one, three or five-minute short stories on the Short Edition website any time.

No plane ticket necessary.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more travel tips!

All photos by the author.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.