Friday, April 27, 2012

World Book Night 2012

Monday this week was the second World Book Night. World Book Night began in 2011 in the UK as a celebration of reading. April 23 was chosen because that day is the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth and death, as well as the anniversary of Cervantes' death. This year, the US joined the UK and Ireland in giving out free books. The plan was for half a million books to be given out by volunteers.

The 2012 World Book Night focused more on adults, with the thought being that adults need to be reminded of the joy of reading for pleasure. All books were donated - the paper used by the printers, the publishers providing the books, the authors donating their royalties, UPS donating deliveries, the bookstores and libraries providing pickup points and the volunteers giving the books out at various places. The places were not the usual locations one might expect to find a book, but places where people might want to read, such as bus and train stations, nursing homes, shelters, hospitals and even parks.

I found out about World Book Night thanks to my local bookstore, The Book Shelf in Winona, MN, and signed up to be a giver this year. As a giver I had the choice of one of 30 possible titles (the list can be found here). I also had submit a explanation of why I chose the title and where I planned to distribute the 20 copies of the book. As a YA author, I was more familiar with the YA titles, and my three choices were among those.

I got my first choice, The Hunger Games, and my plan was to give the books out at the Winona Senior High School. Although the celebration is World Book Night, the organizers knew that not all places would be open at night, so in my case, it's World Book Day.
Monday morning I stopped by the Winona Senior High School with my box of twenty copies of The Hunger Games. I had been in contact with Martha Langowski, Media Secretary at the Senior High's Media Center, and she had a list of students (and teachers) who would best benefit from a copy. Only ten copies were needed at the Senior High, so from there I headed to the Winona Area Learning Center. The Learning Center was delighted to receive ten copies.

Winona had 14 designated givers and the places chosen to distribute the books ranged from the food shelf to student groups at two of the universities to the bike path around Winona's two lakes. The local newspaper reported that 300 books were given out.

For more details and personal stories of other book givers, the WBN Facebook page is

The plans for next year are even bigger. Consider signing up to be a giver. The USA website is


  1. What a neat idea. I never heard of it. Wish our bookstores did something like this locally. It would be fun.

  2. What a great under-publicized concept! I'm glad you brought this up. I'll need to keep it in mind - and I know exactly what bookstore to go to!