A quick history of books demonstrates that it has undergone a metamorphosis over the years: progressing from that of a novelty item, and a "work of art" until finally arriving to its present state -- that of an article of mass consumption. From one extreme to the other, books exists to meet the economic realities of modern society: a folio in a rich binding with full page illustrations, that can proudly sit on a coffee table or book shelf, or an inexpensive paperback book - quickly read and just as quickly disposed of or traded. Paperback book clubs were established to promote the wide distribution of soft cover books. But perhaps the more important issue at hand is that paperback book clubs promote reading.
On January 23, 2004 a new program involving free-of-charge distribution of paperback pocket books in the "underground" of Mexico City was originated. The city administration planned to make the time which the most people spend during traveling underground more comfortable and pleasant, and to transform the underground into a big library.
Two-hundred-fifty-thousand books were to be distributed among the passengers of underground during rush-hours. This was a plan that looked good on paper but was difficult to execute. The Mexico City underground is crowded with a minimum of free space. Pick-pockets do brisk business. So the idea of
offering books to people who are more concerned about losing their wallets and purses was a considerable challenge.
The idea to organize an "underground library" was the brain-child of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. It is assumed that the passengers would return their books after reading them, which would keep the material in circulation for a long time and keep the costs of replacing books at a minimum.
The first batch of books for circulation in the underground contained mainly short stories, poems and plays - all pieces that were short enough to be read during one underground trip. Mr. Carlos Monsivis, one of the most well-known Mexican writers who has donated his works tot his ambitious program, has a big hope that the books will serve a good purpose. He is sure that in any case those readers who will not return the books will give them to someone else to read.
To say that the program was a hit is an understatement. In fact, during the next two years the city authorities are planning to distribute as many as 7 million books. Another method of book distribution and propagation is the idea of establishing a network of paperback book clubs. Ideal space for a book club should be at most a two-story building in which there are a big right-angled rooms.
If you plan to invite an audience, authors and his or her admirers from other cities, the so-called Doubleday book club is the best decision here, appropriate premises or an apartment should be provided. If you are planning to organize literature, music or other parties within your paperback book clubs, an appropriate space for seating will be required as well. In the United States for example, there are two different types of paperback book clubs: a publishing type and a reader's type. As far as publishing paperback book clubs is concerned, a buyer becomes a subscriber of one of the numerous book clubs depending on his or her preferences. It could be a club of historical romance or detective stories, a club of scientific discoveries or paperback book clubs for sports lovers. The club members have a right to buy books at lower prices and as a rule they are granted different types of discounts and presents.
Speaking about readers clubs, one should say that these types of clubs are organized in a different way. Members of this type of book club do not become subscribers. They are buying a specific book, and after reading, they get together to discuss it and exchange of views. A great way to encourage reading and develop social skill as well!