Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

200 volunteers form human chain to move books from old store to new space

A bookstore in Southampton, England, came up with a novel way to move inventory from its old location to a new space down the street: Form a human chain, and pass the books down until they get to their new home.

October Books was established in 1977, and it has lots of devoted customers. The store knew it would be expensive to hire movers, and so it asked people who frequented the shop if they'd join in and help pass the books from the old stockroom to the new store's main floor. Employee Amy Brown told NPR the store expected about 100 people to stop by last Sunday, and they were shocked when more than 200 showed up.

It was "a sight to behold," she said. The line stretched for 500 feet, and the whole neighborhood got involved, with local restaurants passing out cups of tea and pedestrians joining in when they learned what was going on. In about an hour, more than 2,000 books made the journey down the line to the new space. "It was really sort of surprising and positive, and just a really moving experience to see people chipping in because they wanted to help," Brown said. "And they wanted to be part of something bigger."