Citizen Book will deliver an unknown book to your door
Simple pleasures often tend to be the most rewarding. Freshly brewed coffee; receiving a surprise package in the post; sitting down to start new book—those kind of things. In fact, if you could think of a way of combining those experiences together, then you should be on to a winner.
Someone who has done just that is Mohamed El Mougy, by creating a UAE-based social enterprise called Citizen Book.
Understanding the emotional powers attached to community, physical products and literature, the Dubai-resident is aiming to develop various interactive projects that will help “to make reading cool again”.
The first of these projects is Citizen Book’s Blind Date. The concept it pretty simple: you fill out an online form stating your address and specific reading preferences and, within a week, a personalized book package is hand-delivered to your door in a brown paper package tied up with string.
Like an early birthday present, you won’t know what the book is until you open the package, unless you can decipher it from the clues handwritten on the outside. Each package costs AED 70 (plus AED15 delivery), but it also swaps out the hassle of pestering your friends for recommendations, or relying on Kindle’s to suggest ‘Books you might also like’, with a new type of algorithm: a human one.
Make no mistake about it, the task of picking out a book for a complete stranger is not an easy task, but El Mougy—who, by day, works as an analyst for a global tech firm—has devised a clever online survey to gain a wider character profile of its Blind Date applicants. Readers are asked to list their favourite books, films and musicians, in addition to any books that they have already read.
All that allows El Mougy to not only select a book for them, but to distill the other provided knowledge in order to give him a wider insight into different demographics of readers. Still in its early phase, the future plans of the Citizen Book project is to create an app that could essentially become a sort of Spotify for books. What is even more soul-warming is that as a social enterprise, a ‘paying-it-forward’ element is built into each Blind Date, with Citizen Book pledging to donating an academic book to a child in Africa for every time someone uses the system.
There are few things than can top the simple pleasure of diving into a new book, but signing up for a Blind Date with Citizen Book might just be one of them.
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