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Hundreds of books have been set free onto Melbourne’s transport network. Here’s why

Rose Johnstone
Written by
Rose Johnstone

It’s a unique feeling, that moment when you finish a book you’ve loved. A bittersweet goodbye to characters who feel like friends; curiosity to know what happens next; an urge to tell everyone you know – or even a complete stranger – that they just have to read it. 

There’s something special about sharing books – and if you’re a Melbourne commuter, a whole new world of book-sharing has just opened up. 

Books on the Rail is a movement which sees hundreds of books roaming free on Melbourne’s public transport system. Each book has a sticker on it saying “take a book, read it and then return it for someone else to enjoy”. It’s as simple as that. 

The book-loving individuals behind the initiative are Michelle Kalus and  and Ali Berg, who got the idea from a similar program in London. In just a few months, the pair have circulated more than 300 books, and counting. Publishers are donating novels, and the website invites ‘book ninjas’ to distribute books around Melbourne’s trains, trams and buses. 

We think it’s an inspired idea. Not only does it encourage community-mindedness, but it might just get us off our phones and reading again on our daily commute.

Scores of Melburnians have already embraced #booksontherail. Here’s what you’ve been reading:


Learn more about Books on the Rail, and find out how to become a book ninja.

Speaking of cool Melbourne initiatives, have you heard about the Airstream caravan rooftop hotel?

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