Books on the Subway is one small typo away from being Boobs on the Subway. That recent realization sparked a unique and fascinating campaign to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Books on the Subway since 2013 has been leaving their favorite books on the New York subway with the mission to help people fall in love with reading again and make the subway a more friendly and enjoyable experience.

When a friend of the organization pointed out the effect of the one-letter difference, the group had an idea they felt could make a bigger difference than just one letter.

Books on the Subway’s monthly book club was reading The Bucket List (Atria) by Georgia Clark. “The idea was simple — we designed 10 unique book jackets, or should we say ‘boob jackets,’ to wrap our copies of the book and encourage women to check their breasts,” said Books on the Subway co-founder Hollie Fraser. Each jacket features a pair of breasts on the cover positioned in such a way that when held it looks like the reader’s hands are mid-self-check. The book covers include the hashtag #CheckOutMyBoobs to raise awareness about self-exams.

On October 19, members of the group brought several copies of The Bucket List with them on the subways and set up a “flash mob” featuring many of their dedicated volunteer #bookninjas, all checking out their latest read.


“We are hoping these photos will start a social movement using books as prompts for self-checkups,” said Fraser, who noted, “Nearly 80 percent of young women diagnosed with breast cancer find their breast abnormality themselves. And checking your boobs is as easy as checking your book out of the library!”

The group has created a page on its website, called Boobs, which provides more information and education on breast self-examinations.

Fraser added, “This campaign has had a really positive response. We managed to raise money for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and we hope we’ve reminded more women to keep checking their breasts.”


Books on the Subway thinks of itself as being like a public library but on the New York Subway. Like the name implies, the group simply goes out and leaves books on the subway for travelers. There are new books every day, and they are there to be taken, read, shared and enjoyed. The books reflect a wide range of all genres. Subway riders are encouraged to feel free to pick up the books and take them home, but when they are done they are asked to put them back on the subway for someone else.

And where do the books come from? “I started with books from my own bookshelf, and since growing we now get books from publishers and authors,” said Fraser. “They submit them to us to leave on the subway. So each day we hero one title on the subway, and we normally leave about 20 to 50 copies of that one title for New Yorkers to find.”

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