In Brief

Residents in Grenoble are being encouraged to kill time in way that doesn't involve checking emails or texting

A number of short story dispensers have been installed in public spaces in the French city of Grenoble, offering residents the chance to pass the time by reading. The stories are printed onto paper and people can choose the length they desire in order to receive an original written piece for free.

The stylish machines distribute short stories to those who would like something to read for a few minutes while they have some free time. Instead of checking their emails, sending a text or playing a mobile game, the publishing company behind this initiative, Short Edition, hopes they might choose to read a story. This analog take on killing time in a digital-first world is a nice way of trying to encourage people to get reading rather than using technology.

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