It all started when they left their favourite book at South Yarra Station for a stranger to discover. Three years on, Books on the Rail duo Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus have written two novels, amassed thousands of followers and could soon have a movie deal.
This was a delightful read that I became completely consumed by and finished in one sitting! Frankie and her best friend Cat are an endearing pair that sweep you up in their quest to return Frankie to her first love in life, writing. The literary references seamlessly slipped into the narrative brought me back to another extremely clever read, Jasper Fforde’s ‘Thursday Next’ series! ‘The Book Ninja’ rewards the well-read reader with quick associations and a particularly funny (yet perfectly apt for this plot!) debate about the merits of literary versus Young Adult fiction.
Simon & Schuster has sold German rights to The Book Ninja in a six-way auction to Blanvalet. The book has attracted further attention in Europe, with Italian rights sold to Garzanti Linguistica, Slovak and Czech rights to Fortuna Libri, and Spanish rights to Ediciones Urano.
Their novel The Book Ninja is a ‘clever, funny and wryly observed story about finding love and discovering yourself in the process,’ said managing editor Roberta Ivers. ‘And of course it’s all about the love of books, something they know better than anyone.’
The Guardian: The guerrilla library infiltrating Melbourne's Metro
December 07, 2019
Last Saturday, Books on the Rail held its first book club – in a train carriage, naturally. The book club, which met on the Frankston line, grew out of the organisation’s books subscriptions program – a “blind date with a book” – which they began as a response to reader feedback.
The Culture Trip: Books on the Rail brings literature to Australia's commuters
September 14, 2016
With the help of our incredible Book Ninjas, we’ve recently launched Books on the Rail Australia-wide! We hope to continue to expand our geographical reach and the number of books hitting public transport services. We want to create a movement where the community drives the initiative, rather than just us. We’re already starting to see this happen on social media, which is very exciting! Hopefully in the future, every time you travel on public transport you’ll spot a Books on the Rail book!
The Leader: Malvern duo's Books on the Rail is going national
September 01, 2016
Metro spokesman Marcus Williams said the movement had its approval. “While we can’t take any credit and have no formal involvement, this is an example of a positive community initiative and one we admire,” he said.
Lonely Planet: Book Ninjas leaving literature for commuters
August 31, 2016
Melbourne, a Unesco City of Literature, continues to live up to its name with a developing subversive movement called ‘Books on the Rail’. The city’s public transport network is being infiltrated by ‘book ninjas’ who leave books for commuters to read and share.
Huffington Post: These women started a free book share on their city’s public transportation
September 01, 2016
"All aboard this awesome idea! Scores of free books have been appearing on buses, trams and trains in Melbourne, Australia, for passengers to read and share with each other. It’s all part of Books On The Rail, a program started by copywriter Ali Berg and teacher Michelle Kalus to get strangers to pass around anything from children’s titles to classics."
Upworthy: These 'book ninjas' give commuters free books to read while they ride.
August 30, 2016
"Reading is an empowering way to spread joy and wonder. Combine that with the reach and traffic of public transit, and you’ve got a mobile library that can bring the printed word to thousands of people."
TimeOut: Hundreds of books have been set free onto Melbourne’s transport network
August 29, 2016
"It’s a unique feeling, that moment when you finish a book you’ve loved. A bittersweet goodbye to characters who feel like friends; curiosity to know what happens next; an urge to tell everyone you know – or even a complete stranger – that they just have to read it."
Smh News: 'Book ninjas' are hiding free books on Melbourne's trains
August 29, 2016
"Bored of your Spotify playlist, your Facebook scroll, that whole Candy Crush thing my mum's still obsessed with? Keep your eyes peeled for a lonely book, hogging a seat on your afternoon tram, waiting for a curious reader to flip it open and take it home."
Broadsheet: Travelling Books on Melbourne’s public transport
August 28, 2016
"A new community initiative called Books on the Rail is placing free books on your bus, tram and train. You may have heard of book-exchange programs such as London’s Books on the Underground, which inspired copywriter Ali Berg and primary-school teacher Michelle Kalus to create Melbourne’s own Books on the Rail."
Mashable: Books are appearing all over public transport
August 29, 2016
"Readers rejoice! There are books popping up all over public transport system, and not because someone keeps forgetting them. The Australian organisation Books On The Rail have established a campaign asking people to leave books on trains, trams and buses in an effort to get people sharing their most loved books."