BookBrowse interviews In the UK, a commuter-led book discussion group, @RailBookClub, utilizes Twitter and train station digital screens to bring recommendations to passengers. about all aspects of their book club.

Book Club Interviews

In the UK, a commuter-led book discussion group, @RailBookClub, utilizes Twitter and train station digital screens to bring recommendations to passengers.

Paul Carolan, Commercial Director at JCDecaux, an outdoor media company, talks about @RailBookClub, their recently formed commuter-led book club, @RailBookClub, that utilizes train station digital screens and Twitter to bring book recommendations to passengers.

Hi Paul! Thank you for joining us. Can you tell us about @RailBookClub? It is not a conventional book club in more than one way, correct?

@RailBookClub is JCDecaux’s content–led commuter book club. It aims to connect commuters across the UK by inviting passengers to tweet their recommendations for books, which are then run across JCDecaux’s national network of digital screens in stations.

Let's back up for just a second. What is JCDecaux?

JCDecaux Group is a multi-national corporation based in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris, France, known for its bus-stop advertising systems, billboards, public bicycle rental systems, and street furniture.

Why did JCDecaux decide to create this book discussion group?

RailBookClubCreating a new book club community was part of our strategy to bring content to our screens that enhances the passenger journey and builds communities though people’s passion for books.

Providing a daily source of inspiration for the rail audience, @RailBookClub is very informal, friendly and is a medium for people with a passion for reading and who love to create discussions and debates among like-minded people on-the-move.

What makes @RailBookClub special?

We like to think we are the go-to book club for commuters and, from what I know, no one in the world has created something like this – it is unique!

I think you're right! It's a great concept and so will be interesting to watch it grow over time.

As an online book club, @RailBookClub caters to people - primarily commuters - who are possibly too time-poor to join a physical book club.

And it is kind of a great equalizer, too, isn't it?

Yes, since it’s an online book club, it is open to anyone, and having the content deployed on our national screens in stations makes the potential audience reach into the millions.

Furthermore, due to our recent partnership with Hachette, we have access to authors and can create fantastic opportunities for the public to win competitions and receive great giveaways.

How did the @RailBookClub get started?

In July 2013, when thinking about how to further enhance the passenger journey, a group of JCDecaux book-clubbers created the concept for @RailBookClub. Using our Connected Commuter research we found that passengers love books, with the vast majority reading during their commute. The results revealed that 81% of train commuters read on their journeys every month, with 38% of these using an e-reader. Therefore, launching @RailBookClub and linking it to our digital screens in stations was a natural step.

We usually ask book clubs to tell us about their meetings, but you're more of a books discussion group, not a traditional club. How is @RailBookClub organized?

Commuters post recommendations of books they are reading and they, in turn, inspire other readers to engage in the conversation.

How To Train Your Dragon GiveawayTo keep the book club exciting and different, each month we select moments to offer simple giveaways and competitions for signed books to our @RailBookClub community. Whether they are sport-related or linked to specific holidays or events, we ensure to keep the book club relevant, accessible and engaging for the community.

Our friends at Hachette provide wonderful prizes. For example, we gave away Jill Mansell signed novels on Valentine’s Day this year.

You mentioned Jill Mansell and her novels. Can you tell us about the sorts of books you discuss?

The Rosie ProjectWe don’t pick books for people to read. However, certain books have definitely created trends on our Twitter page, such as: Gone Girl, The Rosie Project and Instructions for a Heat Wave.

Comparing films to books is always very popular. The Book Thief was a prime example of a book that created a great debate among the community, and we’re looking forward to see the discussions unfold when the Gone Girl film comes out at the end of the year.

What is great about @RailBookClub is the strong opinions that are roused, exciting debates about best sellers and overall discussions that can even uncover some fantastic hidden gems!

Do you have advice for any other book groups?

Gone GirlI would advise a Twitter book club moderator to keep conversations going. People like to be prompted to chat at certain times Once we hit 1000 followers, the greatest moment was watching them start talking among themselves – and this can be achieved with the right amount of passion and encouragement from the onset. Oh and if all else fails, get people talking about Gone Girl!

Thank you for joining us here, Paul!



Image of @RailBookClub's How To Train Your Dragon Giveaway depicts an example of the prize campaigns offered: in this case, 11 signed and illustrated editions from Cressida Cowell's famous series.

© BookBrowse.com May 2014.

Would you be interested in being interviewed for this feature? If so, please contact us with brief details about your club. It is very helpful if you include both a contact email and a telephone number.

Advice Main Page  |  Starting a Book Club  |  The First Meeting
Leading Meetings  |  Difficult Meetings  |  Choosing Books  |  Inviting Authors
DIY Reading Guides  |  Book Club Games

Reading Guides  |  Themed Reading Lists  |  Online Discussions  |  Blog  |  White Paper

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: My Heart Underwater
    My Heart Underwater
    by Laurel Fantauzzo
    Corazon — Cory — Tagubio is a Filipina-American teenager living with her family in ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Sun
    Black Sun
    by Rebecca Roanhorse
    Reading the first book in a series is always difficult because readers know that, by definition, it ...
  • Book Jacket: Somewhere in the Unknown World
    Somewhere in the Unknown World
    by Kao Kalia Yang
    Resettled refugees are mostly invisible. Their needs are rarely publicized and their struggles are ...
  • Book Jacket: The Orchard
    The Orchard
    by David Hopen
    The protagonist of David Hopen's first novel, The Orchard, is 17-year-old Aryeh Eden, a Brooklyn boy...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Migrations
    by Charlotte McConaghy

    An instant bestseller set on the brink of catastrophe, for readers of Flight Behavior and Station Eleven.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Exiles
by Christina Baker Kline

The author of Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant historical novel.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win This Book!
Win Jack

Return to Gilead with Jack, the instant New York Times bestseller

Enter to win Marilynne Robinson's latest novel in her classic series.

Enter


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I G I O Ear A O T O

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.