The Ikea location at Wembley in London has created a reading room and the bookshelves are stacked with multiple copies of the Man Booker Longlist. Customers can read on a chair or a couch for hours at a time and then take a book home with them, for free.
Ikea announced in a statement “With hour-long slots available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on a daily basis,” for the six-day event, “visitors can curl up with a copy of a book from the newly-announced Man Booker 2018 longlist (which they can also take away with them) and unwind into a wonderful state of escapism in their own cozy, personal living room. So, if you want to switch off from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, then book your free slot today.”
One of the big reasons Ikea is doing this is because UK residents have not read a book in the last year, and that “nearly 13 million books are started but unfinished. Only 33% of the population are even attempting to read a book this summer.
In a prepared statement, Luis Lopez, head of living rooms for IKEA UK and Ireland, is quoted, saying, “The Reading Rooms give us a chance to use our retail space to inspire people to think about the importance of relaxation at home. Reading at home is good for your health and the living room is the perfect, tranquil setting to do so, providing a peaceful haven from the outside world.”
Hopefully this pilot project goes well. It would be nice to see Ikea rollout reading rooms worldwide and give people a chance to take a book home for free. There are always literary lists and awards multiple times a year, so there is no shortage in partners that would want to donate a couple hundred books.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.