TrIP Biennale Day 16: Guess What We Found by Kim Britt

In early November, I was volunteered to do the TrIP project by my store’s manager, Karen.  Even  though I have been peripherally involved with TrIP since the inception (even laying claim to it’s acronym), I had a dim, wary view of public transportation and no time or need to use it.  I live, like most people, in a world fraught with deadlines.  Rushing from obligation to obligation behind the wheel of my gas-guzzling, mom-taxiing, book-carrying SUV.  Karen assured me it would be fun.  She said we can make it a Bookmark It blog post.  She said she’d go with me.  She can be very persuasive.

As owner/manager of a small indie bookstore, Bookmark It, we are often sent Advance Reader Copies (ARC) of new books getting ready for distribution.  These ARC’s intent is to solicit feedback and early reviews, but the one caveat accompanying them is that they cannot be sold.  So once the ARC is read, the dilemma becomes ‘what do we do with them?’.   TrIP, as it turns out, provided the answer.

On Monday, November 16th at 10:15am we set out from the Winter Park station on our round-trip expedition, armed with our Sunrail passes, 45 ARCs of a variety of genres to pass out (for free), and these handouts:

trip handout attachment.png

The responses were fascinating.  Some people politely declined, saying that they already had a book or just were not interested.  One mother traveling with her teen, even pulled her closer saying “No,no, she doesn’t want one” (despite her daughter’s eager attempt to take one of the middle-grade books from the stack).   But for most that were asked, we were met with incredulous response of “what… for free?” followed quickly by an excited preview of the titles available.  We met business men traveling on their morning commute, college students going to class, retirees just trying out Sunrail for the first time, and even a delightful foursome of women on a lunchtime adventure who were in the same neighborhood bookclub.  Laughter and conversations between once-solo passengers now filled the quiet railcar.  The heartfelt ‘thank you’s’ as riders exited with their new books were our payment.

Although a month later, we never received a single book review, the experience of shifting the perception of public transportation from necessity to delight stayed with us and we vowed to do this on a regular quarterly basis.  Next time we’ll tackle LYNX, so watch for us ! 

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