1, 3, or 5.
While definitely odd, these are your only choices at the world’s first short story vending machines in Grenoble, France—a small town of 160,000 located in the French Alps.
The project is the brainchild of a local startup publishing company, Short Edition, a free publication platform that has helped amateur writers get published since its inception in 2011. Launching in October of 2015, there are currently 8 pop-up vending machines throughout the city that allows users the opportunity to choose a short story that takes 1, 3, or 5 minutes to read. The idea is to get residents away from the screens in their pockets and to fill their “dead time”—time spent during commute—reading works of fiction.
The machines are filled with over 60,000 short stories that print out in a matter of seconds on rolls of paper not unlike a CVS receipt for 3 items that is inexplicably taller than I am. Co-founder Quentin Pleplé says the machines are a huge success, and the company has received requests from all over the world for these custom story spitters.
Here’s hoping these new vending machines help grow imaginations instead of bellies by providing food for thought as an alternative.