Discover ‘book swap boxes’ during City Reads

City Reads book swap box SUS-170224-124635001
City Reads book swap box SUS-170224-124635001

In March you may find yourself stumbling across a homemade book swap shelf in the city.

It all began with local crime writer Wiliam Shaw, who created a book swap box outside his home. He said he has been fascinated by the ‘ongoing story’ of the box.

Mr Shaw said it now has a life of his own, and he even had a Christmas card this year from one of its regular users.

He added that he is charmed by the fact that in this defiantly digital age old-fashioned page-turners still have the power to unite a community.

Now City Reads - a city-wide reading festival in the city - has taken inspiration from Mr Shaw’s idea.

City Reads - which runs from March 2 to May 14 - has teamed up with Brighton Festival and enlisted the help of some sponsors and funders to create several of book swap boxes around the city.

The idea is that anyone can access free books during City Reads 2017.

A City Reads spokesperson said: “City Reads is all about the pleasure of sharing books and stories - and let’s face it - Brighton and Hove is very bookish city. Walking the streets in certain neighbourhoods on a fair weathered evening, you may have already noticed a system of informal and anonymous book-sharing going on. Whether it’s piles of paperbacks lying on pavements or homemade boxes inviting neighbours to take and leave a book.

“In the past City Reads volunteers have left books on park benches, in launderettes and cafes. More recently we’ve been looking for a more fulfilling, sustainable way to share books with people. We think these Book Swap Boxes are the answer! They embody the City Reads spirit of small-scale community interactivity and a shared love of the written word.”

There will, of course, be a number of copies of this year’s City Reads chosen book: The Handsworth Times by Sharon Duggal in each box, and books by Brighton crime writers William Shaw and Elly Griffiths, who each have their own boxes - sponsored by their publisher Quercus. These will be located at Redwood Cafe (William Shaw’s box) and Pavilion Gardens Cafe (Elly’s box).

The project encourages readers to take a book, leave a book, read a book and share.

For more on the book swap boxes, and where you can find them, visit: