See you later, smartphones; welcome back, good old-fashioned reading. Grenoble, the charming capital of the French Alps, is often (falsely) referred to in the French media for its crime rates. But today culture is back on the main stage.
The idea is to make waiting around in public places pass a little quicker with… short story dispensers. While these days it it customary to zone out staring at our smartphones, the Grenoble town council aims for its inhabitants to instead take advantage of these moments and bring back a bit of the culture we’ve lost in the technological revolution.
Christophe Sibieude, co-founder and head of local publishing start-up Short Edition told Agence-France Presse:
“The idea came to us in front of a vending machine containing chocolate bars and drinks.
We said to ourselves that we could do the same thing with quality popular literature to occupy these little unproductive moments.”
And it’s free!
It is now possible to read stories that can be consumed in however much time you’ve got to kill. The ‘three minute’ format, for example, takes the form of a piece of paper 8cm wide and 60cm in length; for the five minute version we reckon this is roughly doubled.
The one-metre high, screen-less, orange and black distributors are a first in France. Their use is completely free with the initiative coming from a collaboration between the founders of publishing company Short Edition and the green party mayor of Grenoble, Eric Piolle.
And this is not the first time eco-friendly Piolle has been in the news: in 2014, the mayor hit the headlines after he banned advertisements on the streets of Grenoble.
In total there will be eight machines spread across the town: at the town hall, the tourist office, libraries and in social centres.