IKEA is partnering with the Man Booker Prize to create the ‘Reading Rooms’ filled with free novels.
Following the announcement of the awards longlist this Tuesday (24th July), the Swedish retailer will play home to ‘book clubs’ where the public can read and take away a copy of one of the 13 longlisted titles at its Wembley store in north London.
The project, which celebrates reading for relaxation and aims to encourage the nation to read at home, will run from next Tuesday (31st July) until 5th August. Members of the public can book one-hour slots for free online.
“Visitors will be able to come to a dedicated space in IKEA Wembley and enjoy a good read in the most relaxing of conditions,” a spokesperson for the multinational company said. “Whether that is curling up on our cosy Strandmon armchair, losing yourself in a story from our classic Billy bookcase or propping your feet up after a long day on our comfy Poäng footstool, this space will enable people to relax and unwind.
“With hour-long slots available from 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Saturday and 11am-5pm Sunday, bookworms will be able to curl up with a book (which they can also take away with them) and unwind into a wonderful state of escapism in their own cosy, personal living room.”
The initiative is designed to “help alleviate stress and help make the home a haven again”. Research conducted by IKEA has found 64% of Brits believe TVs, laptops and smartphones often bring the stress and fast pace of the outside world into the place we should be experiencing pure relaxation.
Luis Lopez, head of living rooms of IKEA UK and Ireland, said: “The Reading Rooms give us a chance to use our retail space to inspire people to think about the importance of relaxation at home. Reading at home is good for your health and the living room is the perfect, tranquil setting to do so, providing a peaceful haven from the outside world.
“In partnering with The Man Booker Prize we know we are giving people the chance to read the best of this year’s books.”
Gaby Wood, literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation, added: “If you associate reading with holidays then you probably associate it with indulgence. And – it’s true – reading fiction can be, at its best, a form of escapism. But that doesn’t make it a guilty pleasure. It’s more like a fast route to better health. Our homes are filled with devices that allow the digital world to encroach on our private lives.”
She urged people to “reclaim your privacy, and your imagination” through reading a book.