Left On The Shelf: Over 53 Million Books Unfinished Every Year – 02.04.19

New work by Anthony Horowitz among thousands of stories you can now read in under five minutes

New research reveals that 53,094,541¹ books are left unfinished in the UK every year as busy Brits can’t find the time to reach the final chapters.

The research, commissioned by Canary Wharf, found that 36 per cent of Brits have given up on at least one book in the last year due to lack time, with more than one in four (30 per cent) admitting it’s been over six months since they last finished a book. The study has prompted the destination to install the first ever Short Story Stations in the UK – vending machines that dispense one, three and five-minute stories at the touch of a button.

The Stations, installed across the Canary Wharf estate this week, contain an exclusive story by award-winning British author and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz, that can be read in less than one-minute. The piece, titled Mr Robinson, is Horowitz’s shortest ever fictional work and takes the form of a ‘whodunnit’ crime – not only what he is best known for with his Alex Rider novels, but also, according to the research – the nation’s favourite genre (19 per cent).

Anthony Horowitz commented: “I’ve always loved the challenge of the short story – creating a whole world in just a few pages. So I was very happy to write Mr Robinson for Canary Wharf’s brilliant new Short Story Stations. Here’s a whodunnit, complete with suspects and clues, that can be started and finished in just a minute. I hope it will entertain tube travellers who will know, at least, that they won’t have the frustration of having to get off before the end!”

Anthony Horowitz’s story is available for free to the public from Thursday 4th April via three Short Story Stations which will make their UK debut at various locations throughout Canary Wharf. His story will be one of thousands available from the vending machine-like dispensers which print onto eco-friendly papyrus paper at no cost. The brainchild of French company, Short Édition, the stories cover a range of topics, including classical literature, crime and feel good fiction.

Lucie Moore, Head of Arts and Events, Canary Wharf Group says: “We’re all guilty of saying we’re too busy, but our research found that a staggering70 per cent of us would rather get lost in a good book than get lost down the rabbit hole of social media. Our Short Story Stations provide the perfect digital antidote – a return to analogue scrolling. We hope Anthony’s brilliant new work helps people to fall back in love with short stories.

Anthony’s story entitled Mr Robinson will be available at Canary Wharf from Thursday 4 April 2019. For more information visit www.canarywharf.com


For further information, please contact:

Press Office
Canary Wharf Group plc
T: 020 7418 2166
E: pressoffice@canarywharf.com

Notes to Editors

Research was conducted by Opinium Research to a sample of 2,000 nationally representative UK adults between 1st – 4th March 2019.

¹UK adults said they read started but didn’t finish on average 1.02 books per year * UK adult population (52,079,000) = 53,094,541

About Canary Wharf Group:

Canary Wharf Group plc has overseen the largest urban regeneration project ever undertaken in Europe, designing and building more than 16.5m sq ft of London real estate, which now houses local and international companies and renowned retailers.

The Canary Wharf Estate is a major retail destination comprising around 1m sq ft across five shopping malls, including the award-winning leisure development, Crossrail Place, housing one of London’s most stunning roof gardens.

It also has world-class, year-round arts and events programme offering over 200 diverse and culturally inspiring events performed throughout the Estate.

Canary Wharf Group is a wholly owned joint venture between Brookfield Property Partners and the Qatar Investment Authority.

Instagram: @canarywharflondon
Twitter: @YourCanaryWharf
Twitter: @CanaryWharfGrp
Twitter: @Level39CW

About Short Edition:

Short Édition is reviving the timelessness of storytelling with its original Short Story Dispensers. The Short Édition vision is to make literature accessible to all, by putting short stories – whether they be fiction, poetry, comics strips or children’s stories – into the hands of readers. Founded in 2011, the company launched the Short Story Dispenser concept in 2015 and has now started to reach readers on each corner of the globe – from Paris to Hong Kong to San Francisco.  Original and simple, the Short Édition connected Short Story Dispensers print out short stories for free at the touch of a button, in both unexpected and everyday places. Users simply press a button to choose and 1-, 3- or 5-minute story, and the dispenser prints an original short story on a scroll, eco-friendly paper. Short Édition has now dispensed more than 3 million short stories written by 8,000 independent authors. The company even has an online community of 290,000 readers who have signed up to receive more original content, with already 30 million short stories accessed via the Short Édition website.