Why reading won’t die

readingYou’d be forgiven for thinking that the art of the written word, or at least the art of consuming that written word is over. But it seems that some people in some places are determined to ensure that books continue to be explored.

Until now only used by shady-looking characters exchanging presents, or the kind of elderly for whom technology post 1985 never really happened, phone boxes are considered by many to be redundant.

But one such red box in Horsley in Surrey is now the home of The Phone Boox Exchange, courtesy of James Econs. Armed with a free Saturday afternoon, a plank of wood, and a few quid to spend on books at the local charity shop, he set about transforming the phone box at the end of his road into an informal book exchange.

James calls it ‘Socially Beneficial Creative Vandalism,’ the idea having popped into his head and from there it was ‘manifestation to deployment in one lazy Saturday afternoon.’

Perhaps part of the problem is that authors aren’t writing what people want to read. It’s all very well going through the cathartic process, but that’s what writing is for…reading, and the other end of the chain requires a customer.

Three book lovers from the UK have set up Unbound, a take on crowd funding that lets authors (who have to have an agent or have previously published) pitch their idea on the site, and the number of supporters and finance needed to make it a reality.

Depending upon their level of investment, readers who pledge get rewarding by a credit in the book, all the way up to launch parties. There’s nothing like handing over your hard earned cash to get you reading.

Manchester is a lucky city, with For Book’s Sake having launched their very own library at Nexus Art Cafe, so punters can peruse a new story or two over their coffee and cake.

In Glasgow a pop-up library was set up for International Women’s Day, and earlier this summer the Covent Garden piazza was converted into a haven for bibliophiles.

Set up to celebrate the fiftieth birthday of Penguin, and to highlight the importance of literacy and libraries in the face of governmental penny-pinching, the Covent Garden Lawn Library proved a success in the city.

So whilst a search for ‘is reading dead’ on Google reveals 750 million results, and thus would seem affirmative, a search in the community reveals otherwise…

Originally published on For Book’s Sake

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