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Book swapping in London, News

We’re getting by with a little help from our friends! Who we’re partnering with

The tempo of our campaign is now really increasing. We’ve spent the last month meeting and talking with different groups around London and elsewhere and arranging possible partnerships. Hopefully our campaign around station book swaps can help them too. Here’s who we’ve been talking to:

The London College of Communication

Through contacts at the LSE, Dr Alison Prendiville and Cordula Friedlander at the LCC are using the Book Swaps for London campaign as a case study for their course on Service Design Innovation. Between now and April, 11 of their students will be researching how London’s tube and train transport works as well as other book-swapping schemes worldwide. They are then going to be proto-typing book swaps in certain areas of the transport system. By April, they will have worked out how best to design book swaps to make them as usable, efficient, and safe as possible for everyone who uses the train and the tube in London. The students are incredibly on to it, and we’re so very lucky to be getting their help for this project.

Read International

If you haven’t heard of Read International, go to their website right now. Now. They’re an absolutely fantastic charity which sends text books to schools in Tanzania and Uganda, to help hundreds of thousands of children to get an education. Since 2004, they’ve shipped over 1 million books to East Africa – wow! Read International also gets thousands of books donated to them that they are unable to send to Africa because they’re not suitable. They’re very happy for us to use some of these for our book swaps; in exchange we’ll promote them on our swaps as well. They also have a network of university-based volunteers, book bins and warehouses that we will hopefully be using as well.


Bookcrossing is the granddaddy of book sharing. Begun in 2001 in the USA, they help millions of people across the world to swap books with the help of some really nifty labels and the ability to track where they end up as well. We spoke with Bookcrossing’s founder, Bruce Pedersen last week, and he’s very keen to get involved with our campaign with the possibility of using book swaps in tube and train stations as areas where people can also leave their Bookcrossing books. It’s going to be great!

Book Cycle

Book Cycle is a charity based in the South of England which collects unwanted books and then gives them away in their ‘shops’ in Exeter and Brighton. They help people to set up book swaps in pubs, cafes, restaurants, hotels and Doctor’s surgeries. We’re hoping to use some of their volunteers and massive amounts of expertise for our London-based book swaps. They also do some really, really, cool stuff with trees.

Healthy Planet – Books for Free

Founded by Londoner Shaylesh Patel, Healthy Planet does a whole bunch of great stuff, from providing free spaces for community groups in unused office spaces, to having ‘stores’ where you can grab Books for Free. They’ve been giving us lots of advice, and have access to volunteers, books and storage spaces across London. Check ‘em out.

All these organisations and people are amazing – please have a look at their sites and support them if you can!

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