Author Mark Billingham helps Westminster libraries launch book group discussions online

The traditional book group received a 21st century makeover when best-selling author Mark Billingham helped to launch an online book group from a library.

Mr Billingham was at Kensington Central Library recently as Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham councils jointly launched an online forum for residents to discuss titles of interest and promote reading.

Called Text Tribe, the first forum discussed Mr Billingham’s crime novel Sleepyhead, for which 120 free copies were given away by its publisher to readers beforehand.

Aimed at adults, the club is open to all and designed to fit around people’s modern, busy lives, changing books every one to two months with selections based on users’ suggestions.

Mr Billingham said: “Reading groups are a hugely important way to spread the word about books and to share the pleasure of a good read with others.

“New technologies and the rise of social media gives us more scope to reach wider audiences, allowing us to enjoy the simple pleasure of talking about books with like-minded friends, no matter the time or place.”

Cllr Lee Rowley, Westminster Council’s cabinet member for community services, said the group will help local readers to exchange opinions on the books they’re reading with a more diverse array of people.

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He added: “It’s good news for reading and literacy in London, and the latest in a string of innovative announcements from our tri-borough libraries service.”

- The Text Tribe online reading group can be joined at and more information is available by emailing