Monday musings on Australian literature: Qantas flight-length book deal
Some of you have probably sussed that Whispering Gums is not at her usual desk – and you’d be right. I’ve been travelling since mid-August, mostly in Europe, and will be back home in early October. I had hoped to read some books and write reviews while on the road, but somehow the reviews haven’t happened. One review is nearly ready though!
However, here’s something interesting I read just before I left Australia in AustLit news. It was about a Qantas initiative involving commissioning, from Hachette, a series of paperback books “timed to be read during 10 of Qantas’s main flying routes”. The series is called “A Story for Every Journey” and, AustLit reports, will be offered to Qantas’ platinum Frequent Flyers.
The books will cover popular fiction and non-fiction genres - the ones we often call “airport books”. The book lengths are based on average reading speeds, taking into consideration time for napping and eating – or so I read in an article at goodereader.com. It quoted Mr Nobay, spokesperson for Hachette’s partner Droga5, as saying that
According to our literary friends at Hachette, the average reader consumes between 200 and 300 words per minute, which equates to about a page per minute.
This spokesperson also said that
for the longer flights, we accommodated some napping time and meals … After a few hours with a fine Qantas in-flight meal with Australian Shiraz, most people need a break from reading.
(Don’t you love the marketing?!)
AustLit said that one of the ten books – sounds like the initial plan is for ten – will be Kimberley Freeman’s Wildflower Hill which “has been suggested as the perfect read for travellers on the Sydney to Dubai route”. What a shame I didn’t have it when I flew that route a few weeks ago! I’ve never heard of Kimberley Freeman, which is apparently the nom de plume of Brisbane writer and academic Dr Kim Wilkins. Other authors include popular actor and author William McInnes, popular non-fiction writer Peter FitzSimmons and novelist Lian Hearn.
Anyhow, as goodereader comments
If this concept in reading takes off (pun intended) and if lawmakers insist on holding to strict regulations on the use of mobile devices during air travel, there is potential for a surge in not only print-reading, but also a shift towards more books being written with an intentional audience already in mind.
On my first reading of the initiative, I thought it was about commissioning books to be written for the purpose, but it sounds like it’s about identifying existing books that suit the criteria and re-packaging them for a new market. It may, of course, lead to books being written specifically for the market, as goodereader wonders.
I’m not sure I need to have books specially targeted to a set reading period, but I love the creative thinking behind this initiative. What do you think? Have you heard of anything similar?