Bringing literature to public spaces

The Commuting Book is a community-based organisation that aims to promote an appreciation and love of reading as a source of knowledge and entertainment by bringing literature to public spaces and in people’s daily activities

Storytelling and reading are skills for life and the importance of books and literature, in general, has been widely researched and documented. We want to encourage and engage the community in reading by finding new ways to make books and stories more available to many people, by using public spaces in unusual ways, that create opportunities to tempt non-readers and to engage those who have not read a book in a long while or don’t have the time. 


  • Distribution of free books on public transport; 
  • Promotion and development of spaces/interventions in urban settings to connect people through words in books and stories; 
  • Design of innovative platforms and creation of interactive installations using technology to support, publish and disseminate works of New Zealand authors of all ages and stages of development.

Stories on the Go: Scan and read a short story

Stories on the Go is a new way to get your daily dose of words for those who can’t live without them, or who don’t usually have time to read. Find a QR code on a bus, scan it and read a short piece written by a New Zealand author. Whatever your age or interests, there’ll always be something for you. To read a different story all you have to do is change seats. If you want your local bus company to get this project on board, please contact us.

Seven Sharp – The Commuting Book  Thursday 13 Apr 2023
 Christchurch woman turning commute into journey through New Zealand literature (One News)
 Christchurch Buses Equipped with Quick Mobile Links to Kiwi Stories (
 ReadNZ: The Commuting Book is bringing literature to public transport (NZBC)
 Bookmark your spot on the bus (CCC)
 The Big Idea: Lowdown #16: Guest Editor! (The Big Idea)
 Massive literacy gap plugged by moving literature (The Big Idea story)

Stories on the Go is growing and you can now read a short story while you wait for your coffee, takeaway, appointment or at the hairdresser. Read more and discover our Storytelling Champions 

The Great Map of NZ Stories: This is a crowdsource platform ideal for writers, publishers, passionate readers and map enthusiasts. Upload a book set in New Zealand and help us showcase to locals and overseas friends, family and visitors our rich literary landscape.

 Getting on the map – places from New Zealand books (Standing Room Only RNZ)

We have also worked with UC Arts Digital Lab in a collaborative map The Big Online Experience that was part of the Meaningful Places and Digital Experiences programme at the 2018 WORD Christchurch Festival. This is an interactive map of antipodean literary and cultural sites. To explore the map visitors can select an author from the main screen or take a full tour by scrolling down through the sections.

Read and Share: Distribution of free books on public transport

Read & Share is an ongoing action initiated in November 2016, and since then 1500+ books have been received and distributed at 50+ bus stops around Christchurch.  Writers, publishers, book organisations and the public donate books, we apply a sticker on the book cover identifying the project and distribute them at bus stops and waiting lounges around the city and publish pictures in social media. When members of the public find the books, they take them home and return after reading for others to enjoy.

 Awesome Story #1 Feat: Magda Lorenzo (Ministry of Awesome)
 Parry Field Change for Good Interview
 Also interviewed by Bookenz

Supporting local artists and writers

Celebrate Christchurch’s rich street art scene by writing a poem, some lyrics or a short story inspired by it. The Commuting Book presents Paint n’ Pen, a creative writing programme open to all ages, to residents and visitors from New Zealand and overseas. Submit your work as an individual or as a family group and in your own language. All submissions will be reviewed by a multi-lingual panel and they will select the works that fit the criteria and show skill.

 Paint n’ Pen – Let Christchurch street art inspire you to write
 Paint n’ Pen Street Art comes to life in Christchurch
 Also featured on ArtBeat

Welcome to The Commuting Book!

Charity Services Registration Number CC54587