Richard Tulloch has given his blog a small roadside rest to tell us about a brilliant bookish idea from the Netherlands:
Each year the Netherlands Book Week committee publishes a novella commissioned from a Dutch author. This little book is then given away by bookstores to customers who purchase books to a certain modest value. Good value for them and the publishers and authors because it stimulates book buying and reading.
Then on the Sunday of Book Week itself, copies of this Boekenweekgeschenk (Book Week Present) become valid train tickets. Anyone clutching a copy of the book can travel free all day on the trains to anywhere in the country. The idea is that readers will meet up with other train travellers on a Book Week pass and run an informal book club session during their journey.
The possibilities are endless! What say the winner of the Miles Franklin was commissioned to write a novella that then became a universal public transport ticket on, say, Henry Lawson’s birthday? And given that Henry Lawson was born on 14 June, why not have a public holiday on the nearest Monday so people can use their book–ticket to best effect?