See you later, smartphones; welcome back, good old-fashioned reading. Grenoble, the charming capital of the French Alps, is often in the French media's spotlight for its crime rates. Today, culture is back on the main stage.
The idea is to help passerby kill time with... short story dispensers. While it's customary these days to zone out with our smartphones while we wait around, Grenoble wants its inhabitants to take advantage of these moments and to 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 good quality popular literature to occupy these little unproductive moments."
And it's free!
The screenless orange and black distributors are a first for France. Their use is completely free: the initiative coming from a collaboration between the founders of publishing company Short Edition and the green party mayor of Grenoble, Eric Piolle.
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.
There will be eight machines spread across the town: at the town hall, the tourist office, libraries and in social centers.
Stories 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 that's 8 by 60 centimeters in size: for the five minute version, we reckon this is doubled.