Qantas to fly the literary skies

Qantas Airlines will begin supplying its fliers with flight-length books.
(Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)

Australia’s Qantas Airlines is promoting the announcement of its extended flight routes by commissioning a series of books that last exactly as long as each flight.

For passengers, that could mean less worrying about when it’s safe to use electronic devices such as a Kindle or iPad.

As Business Insider reports, the ad agency Droga5 Sydney is collaborating with Hachette to produce the collection of custom books. Called “A Story For Every Journey,” each one promises to take only as long as a specific flight to read, so that you’ll finish just as the plane touches down. The agency calculated the time it takes to read a book using data provided by the publisher -- according to Hachette, the average person reads about 200 to 300 words per minute, which is about a page.


Though the books for short flights are meant to be read continuously, for long flights, the agency is factoring in the thought that passengers will most likely put their book down for food and naps.

The target audience for the campaign is Qantas’ Platinum Flyers, who tend to skew male. A range of popular airport genres including thrillers, crime and nonfiction are included, with titles such as “City of Evil” and “Australian Tragic.”

Getting travelers to set aside their e-readers for a custom book seemed like an easy sell to Droga5’s creative chairman David Nobay. As he told Ad Age last week, “It occurred to us that, in this world of Kindles and iPads, the last bastion of the humble, paperback novel is actually at 40,000 feet. Just take a look at the bulging shelves at any airport bookstore.”

The advertising agency has promoted slick black-and-white cover art by Paul Belford, a foreword from Qantas, and a personal note from Qantas frequent flyer CEO Lesley Grant. The content of the books has gotten less attention -- the announcement didn’t include the authors’ names.


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