Though smart phones have taken over the attention spans of most of the population, the people of France have shown that they prefer a bit of light reading instead.

Over 32 short story vending machines have started spreading around the European country, attracting tourists and locals alike.

Installed in train stations from Grenoble to Paris, the little metal machines have ‘1’, ‘3’, and ‘5’, minute buttons for how many minutes it would take to read the given story. Once selected, a long thick strip of paper is printed out the front featuring a story for the reader. There are over 5,000 stories that are anonymously submitted and downloaded into the machines, including romance, horror, comedy, and mystery – and they’re all for free.

Short Edition, the publishing company responsible for the machines, aren’t surprised by their brain child’s success.

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“The written word isn’t dead,” Christophe Sibieude, the co-founder of Short Édition, told the New Yorker earlier this year. “Smartphones have blurred the limits between our professional life and our distractions. The paper format provides a break from omnipresent screens. People may not have reacted so strongly to our vending machines six years ago, when smartphones hadn’t become essential to all parts of our lives yet.”

(WATCH the video below)


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