The Commuting Book aims to promote an appreciation and love of reading, as a source of knowledge and entertainment. We are a community-based organisation bringing literature to public spaces and 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 encourage and engage the community in reading, by finding new ways to make books and stories available, and by using public spaces in new and surprising ways. We wish to create these opportunities for non-readers too, or those that have not read a book in a long time or who simply don’t have the time to read.
With this in mind we have devised the following ‘cunning’ plans:
a) Distribution of free books on public transport;
b) Promotion and development of community spaces/interventions in urban settings to connect people, through words, in books and stories;
c) Design of innovative platforms and creation of interactive installations, using technology, to support, publish and disseminate works by New Zealand authors of all ages and stages in their writing careers.
The focus on storytelling, public spaces and public transport is neither accidental nor capricious. A passion for reading, combined with a background in social sciences and sustainable development, helped shape a vision, not only for this project but also for the future city we want to live in: a place of engaged citizens interacting, with open, lively spaces.
Welcome to The Commuting Book!
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In the Media and Awards
Christchurch woman turning commute into journey through New Zealand literature (One News)
Christchurch Buses Equipped with Quick Mobile Links to Kiwi Stories (Stuff.co.nz)
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)
Getting on the map – places from New Zealand books (Standing Room Only RNZ)
Awesome Story #1 Feat: Magda Lorenzo (Ministry of Awesome)
Parry Field Change for Good Interview
Charity Services Registration Number CC54587
We realised that public and common areas were the ideal environment to communicate our message and to share our love of reading, but quickly noticed that distributing books for free was not enough. We needed something else. Something that could be accessed by hundreds and thousands of people. Something replicable, versatile, low cost and multi functional.
Scan & Read is all of this and more. We have developed an innovative platform, with the double function of making short works of prose and poetry accessible to the public, especially to those for whom a longer work, such as a book, might be daunting. And we are proud to also use this platform to support and promote New Zealand writers.
How does it work?
In the near future we hope to extend the Scan & Read project to commuting trains, tourist trains, tourist buses, domestic flights, ferries, park benches, hospital beds, waiting lounges, and cafes. Buses and bus stops are our pilot project, if you will.
Stories on the Go is our first Scan & Read project:
Read and Share is an ongoing project initiated in November 2016. Since then The Commuting Book has distributed more than 1500 books around Christchurch. Writers, publishers, organisations, and members of the public donate books. We apply a sticker on the book cover with information about The Commuting Book, and distribute the books at bus stops, on board buses, and in waiting lounges around the city. We also publish pictures on social media to raise the profile of books in circulation with The Commuting Book. When members of the public find the books, they take them home and, when they have finished reading, can return Commuting Books to their local bus stop for others to enjoy.
We have now added a new feature: Bonus Read. A sticker, with a QR code, will be added to the inside cover of Commuting Books, giving readers access to a Scan & Read story.
Help us build a map! We are mapping real places in New Zealand that are mentioned in books. Rivers, mountains, towns and cities, famous buildings and monuments, and any other spot mentioned in literature, that we can identify on a map. Add a NZ location, mentioned in a book, in a few simple steps.
Go to MAP PAGE