Short Edition, a French publishing company, offers short stories to passersby on the streets of Grenoble.
Back in 1999, the city of Chicago installed a large number of fiberglass cows all around the city center. The cows were painted by local artists, and when CowParade was over, the cows were sold at auction with the proceeds going to charity.
The idea came from a similar display of lions in Zurich, Switzerland, and was then copied throughout the country and the world. Berlin had bears, Birmingham, England had owls, and Dortmund, Germany had rhinoceroses. More than 100 American cities and dozens of international sites hosted similar displays.
In less garish fashion, but with an eye toward entertainment as well, the city of Grenoble, France has installed a series of small kiosks around town. With the push of a button, a citizen can get a lengthy piece of white paper. Upon that piece of paper is a short story.
The idea is that rather than spend your time looking at Facebook updates or Twitter feeds on your smartphone in your time walking from location to location, you can read instead.
These short story dispensers come from a French startup publishing firm called Short Edition. In an interview with Agence-France Presse, Short Edition co-founder Christophe Sibieude explained the genesis of the short story dispensers:
“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 those little unproductive moments.”
The dispensers provide the stories for free, thanks to a combination of funds from Short Edition and France’s Green Party, of which Grenoble mayor Eric Piolle is a member.
Users can push a button for a 1-minute story, a 3-minute story or a 5-minute story. The stories are written subscribers to the company’s website. Short Edition is what it says it is: a website for distributing short stories and poems.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.