A great idea from the Netherlands

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?

6 responses to “A great idea from the Netherlands

  1. Thanks for passing it on, Jonathan. It is a great idea, don’t you think? If lots of people take advantage of the transport offer, that’s wonderful, but in only a few do that’s still worthwhile and it hardly costs anyone anything. I’m going to suggest it to Sydney Writers’ Festival.


  2. Hi Richard. Yes, the SWF is surely a good place to start.


  3. That is a brilliant idea.


  4. I think the only way it would take off in Adelaide would be to make the book a voucher for footy tickets or fuel.


    • Footy tickets! Now we’re getting somewhere! Imagine a book club meeting while waiting for the game to start, or during the dull bits, or maybe in a special area reserved for people who only went to the game to be sociable but can’t stand the footy itself.


  5. Great idea, Franzy – after the way the Crows have started the season, fans would be well advised to take a good book to the footy, and they’d have plenty of time to discuss it between Adelaide goals.


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