About BDS

About the BDS

Find us

425 Colombo Street
Christchurch 8023
03 365 6210
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Mon - Fri
9:00am - 5:00pm 

Who we are

Book Discussion Scheme is a nationwide not-for-profit organisation and a Charitable Trust. We have a Trust Board, which is responsible for governance, and are a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations (FWEA).

Established in 1973, the Book Discussion Scheme modelled itself on a similar membership scheme in Australia (operated by the Victoria Council of Adult Education). The BDS has since developed into a unique organisation and provider of quality books to book lovers throughout New Zealand.

Today we have more than 1300 groups representing more than 13,000 individual members.


Click here to read what our members say about us.


Book group membership fees provide the majority of funding for the operation of the scheme. Books donated in celebration/memorian and other donations or bequests are always welcome. (Click to read further details.)

Mission statement

The BDS seeks to further the Federation of Workers Educational Associations’ (FWEA) aims of a just and equitable society by promoting reading as a path to learning. The BDS supports learning by purchasing and distributing books and discussion notes to groups throughout New Zealand.

BDS book groups are designed to:

  • work towards a just and equitable society
  • broaden minds through reading and discussion
  • strengthen communities by meeting community learning needs
  • encourage a sense of community and social cohesion
  • provide pleasure of reading and lifelong learning
  • encourage critical thinking
  • create awareness of social issues and cultural diversity. 

Social agenda

Our social agenda is about promoting literacy and a love of books within sectors of the community traditionally under-represented within book groups.

Our BDS Trust Board has agreed to subsidise initiatives that achieve our social agenda. If you know of, or are involved in, an agency that you think would like to explore opportunities to work with us, please get in touch.

Anyone interested in helping establish fun, informal book groups for ESOL/migrants (where they can chat in English and learn more about New Zealand life) or book groups in prisons, please email us.



The Book Discussion 
Scheme is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations in Aotearoa New Zealand
BDS is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations