I know this idea does not come as a novelty and it was probably used in many countries before, however, this is the first time I have heard of it in Poland – and I am happy that we are catching on 😉
Cracow is one of Poland’s biggest and most famous cities, one of the most beautiful ones, too, and very popular with tourists – I’m not sure if this statement is true, but I think that it is actually the most popular, thanks to its sights and surrounding areas that you can visits (including Wieliczka Salt Mine or Auschwitz Concentration Camp), but also thanks to a fame of a great place fo stag-parties for the British who (at least some time ago) flooded the city. But Cracow is also our one of most prominent cultural centres – in 2000 it was the European Capital of Culture, it is a location of major music festivals, home to musicians such as Nigel Kennedy, Kroke, to name just a few, with extensive traditions in poetry – Wisława Szymborska, Czesław Miłosz, both Nobel Award Winners lived here – and other arts. Well, I could go on forever about what is to see and to do in Cracow.
The city’s latest project is “Kraków City of Literature”. And one of the projects within this is a virtual library – almost twenty of the largest Krakow publishing houses have joined forces to present the best books of this summer to readers and, at the same time, to promote reading via modern technologies. More than 60 bus and tram stop shelters in the city centre have turned into the Virtual Library of Publishers. Each book cover presented on posters is accompanied with the assigned QR code– you only need to scan it via your mobile phone and download a fragment of the desired book for free. These include books from various fields, including: novels, biographies (of Steve Jobs, Leo Messi, David Bowie etc.), poetry (Wisława Szymborska, Stanisław Barańczak, Zbigniew Herbert etc.), children’s literature as well as popular literature.
The campaign will last till the end of August. If you become engrossed in a given book after reading its free fragment, you can easily buy the e-book by clicking the link at the end of the scanned fragment. You can also visit one of the following bookshops co-operating with the Krakow Festival Office, where you can buy the traditional version of the book by showing the downloaded fragment of the e-book:
The Virtual Library of Publishers is a part of a series of campaigns run by the Krakow Festival Office in order to promote a literary image of the city. Other projects include two large literary festivals (the annual Conrad Festival and a biennial Czesław Miłosz Festival) or The Second Life of a Book – a huge free book swap campaign that has gained the recognition of readers and attracts hundreds of reading fans every month. It is no coincidence that Krakow was the first city in Poland to mark Seats for Readers in public transportation vehicles; this was done to celebrate the Miłosz Year two years ago.
So, in conclusion, I warmly advise you to visit Cracow, visit Poland and read books! 🙂