While London is already filled with its version of a media blitz akin to Times Square in New York, there’s still hope for the average book lover. The latest movement on the rise promises to circulate thousands of noteworthy books to the hungry reader. The London Book Project is making use of the ‘high speed distribution network’ of the London Underground by creating a free network of book swappers.
Anyone who finds a book with the London Book Project stamp logs in their latest treasure on the website . The ‘Book Crossing’ requests each user to log in their Book Crossing ID number (found inside the cover), and register it. Once it’s been logged, the website tracks where it ends up throughout each week.
London offers many opportunities to commute to destinations throughout the city and beyond; with the London Underground, the bus system, and taxicabs available on every street corner, it’s easy to see why many people simply prefer to be ‘car-less’ in London. The standard literature available to these city-savvy folk usually consists of picking up a copy of the Daily Mail or Evening Standard on the way to work. Alternative choices might be a glossy magazine at the local cigarette stand. However, the London Book Project is designed to encourage intellectual reading amongst the masses.
The London Book Project began as a two-week project with 15 journalists who simply started circulating books with the ‘pass it on’ method. It’s become so popular that people are still registering and logging in their books, and more are adding their second hand books to the inventory. This grassroots effort is beginning to build momentum with its underground initiative-literally. The website is also keeping track of the latest news of the project in true web blog style, highlighting the days events and finds. Users can also contribute on the forum or simply e-mail the team of journalists with feedback.
The idea of free books making the day of the average commuter is certainly an attractive one. Given that the average commute time in London ranges from 20-30 minutes, there’s not much to read besides the advertising-mania that’s prevalent throughout the tube stations and pedestrian walkways. Even picking up a magazine or newspaper can be far from the pursuit of intelligent reading-depending on subject, of course. The London Book Project is digging deep; all the way to Australia, in fact. The Sydney Morning Herald reported the impact of the project across the web as people began blogging about how it might work in their city too.
Getting your hands on a London Book Project-stamped book seems simple enough, and can only get easier as more people participate. On your next trip at the London underground, keep your eyes peeled for that random book on your seat; you’ll be connecting with hundreds of avid readers around the country!