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The concept has been launched by online retailer Bookdepository.com. It will use a temporary bookshelf set up at 363 Colombo St from noon on February 14.
In addition to bestselling titles from international writers, a number of well-known Christchurch authors' books will be given away, including Jack Hartley's All the Other Days.
Book Depository spokesman Mitch Lang said: “In a digital age where content is consumed in byte size, the love of a good book has been lost to many and there is an entirely new generation of young adults who have not known a time when books were their first source of information and inspiration.
“The initiative is about helping lapsed bibliophiles renew their relationship with reading and also inspiring those who have never experienced the sensation of rushing home to start a new book,” he says.
Mr Lang says in keeping with the Valentine’ Day theme, there will be romance, poetry and drama titles available.
However, the majority of the books are from the New Zealand bestsellers list and cover a range of genres such as food and beverages, history, science, biographies, science, fiction, personal development and children’s titles.
He says the free books will only be available on Valentine’s Day, will be limited to one per person and can be picked up from the shelf with no purchase required.