David Campbell of London's Everyman's Library, a partner in Russia's Club XXI Century, thinks it fair to say that the venture is the world's fastest-growing book club. Club XXI Century signed up its millionth member last month, and with its second catalogue sold two million books over the Christmas period. The club was founded in July 1997 by Campbell with Henk Dikstra, Gleb Uspensky and Dmitri Zobnin.
Pointing out that Russia's population of 160 million is 100% literate and that book buying in the current anarchical state of the trade presents considerable difficulty, Campbell projects that Club XXI Century's membership will reach 2.5 million before the end of this year, and five million by the end of the third year. Campbell added, "What is particularly thrilling is that 80% of our members are outside the metropolitan areas of St. Petersburg and Moscow." (The club's Moscow fax number is 7095-0088.)