Childhood friends launch book subscription to get reluctant readers “into the habit”
- Credit: Archant
James and Sam’s Readr mails out a monthly paperback to subscribers then holds a virtual book club to discuss it
Two childhood friends have started a book club and subscription service to encourage people who don’t read to get into the habit.
Twenty years after they became pals at primary school, James Hutchinson and Sam Davami have launched Readr together - coming up with the idea during lockdown.
Sam, an ex primary teacher who now works in management consultancy, and advertising exec James both noticed they had developed a passion for reading in their 20s.
“We had a similar experience,” says James who lives in Kentish Town. “We didn’t do much reading when we were younger but we independently started to read more and more over time and realised it had become a big part of our lives.”
After getting into book clubs, Holloway resident Sam felt it was “a shame that people find it hard to get started”.
“We thought it would be nice if people got into it too and wondered how to get the ball rolling.”
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Thinking of his own experience of wishing he had read more books, James could see many felt the same way but asked “what are the barriers to that?”
Their idea was to curate a subscription service, mailing out one paperback a month then inviting members to a virtual book club to discuss it.
“A bit like Netflix there’s so much choice it’s daunting,” says James.
“We wanted something as simple as possible to share recommendations and make it manageable and fun. For those who read already it could diversify their bookshelf.
Launched in August, the feedback been “really enthusiastic” with members signing up from as far afield as Sweden and Holland.
The first two titles Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger and Brit Bennett’s The Mothers have gone down well and they have future plans for a range of international authors and contemporary and classic titles.
“We want to bring people brilliant books from different genres they might not try themselves and make reading a habit to build into their life,” says James.
“We hope to create a community of people who are passionate about reading because doing it as a group is encouraging.”
Sam adds: “The first book club was a success, with many saying it was not a book they would have picked themselves but they loved it. For some it was the first book they had read in years.
“People seem to love having a book to hold that’s delivered to their door, there’s something exciting about having something to unwrap”.
They have kept the monthly fee “affordable” and with their first 100 members already signed up, James pledges to “see where it takes us.”
The monthly subscription is £8.99 but Readr are currently offering 50 percent off the first three months membership with the code READRPROMO