Would you use an airport book swap shop? Helsinki hopes so...

By John Walton, May 1 2012
Would you use an airport book swap shop? Helsinki hopes so...

Picked up a book for a long flight, finished it and ready for another? Helsinki Airport and Finnair are suggesting that you swap it for one left by another passenger in their airport book swap, currently under construction in a small shop in Terminal 2.

A book swap (using actual books) is an interesting gamble in the age of the Kindle, iPad and other e-reader electronic books. If you can buy almost any book electronically with three clicks of a button, will you even have a dead-tree book with you to swap?

Or could the airport book swap be a way to advertise swapping books electronically on the Kindle itself?

We asked the paper-vs-electronic question recently, and opinion seemed to be fairly strongly in the e-reader column. (It's not too late to go back and share your views on that debate, of course...)

Our take: given that Helsinki is increasingly positioning itself as a useful hub from Asia to Europe, it's not a bad plan to have the book swap option.

Of course, the trick will be ensuring that enough books are useful to international travellers (read: not just texts in Finnish or Swedish, the national languages of Finland).

The airport and airline hope to get frequent travellers involved via their Quality Hunters social media venture. Fans of social image site Pinterest can get pinning on the Book Swap Pinterest page and everyone else can leave suggestions on the Quality Hunters blog.

What do you reckon? Will you have a book with you to swap? Is it worth your time as a business traveller? Or would you rather spend the time in Helsinki airport's spa and sauna?

Share your thoughts in a comment below or on Twitter: we're @AusBT.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

I think this is a fantastic idea, I am a recently converted Kindle lover but I still read paper books as well. It would also come in handy for those times when your Kindle battery runs out, you should always have a standby book!

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