What better way to promote the love of books than through distribution of free copies of the best books? This is the idea behind World Book Night which will have its second annual celebration next year on April 23.
There is no denying the power of books, but today when technological advances are taking over how we live our everyday lives, books can easily get buried by e-readers, smart phones and iPods. Still, as Palanca award-winning writer Jessica Zafra wrote in her blog, “With a book, you hold the entire text in your hands so you get a sense of the whole. You feel the weight of the printed matter, you smell the ink and paper, and you flip through the pages with ease.”
While e-readers and the like provide accessibility, convenience and easy storage (especially when you have space issues at home) of reading materials, voracious readers still prefer to read books in their physical form.
The people behind World Book Night believe that there are “a million reasons to read a book” and are committed to the promotion of reading and books. Spearheaded by World Book Night and fully supported by the Publishers Association, the Booksellers Association, the Independent Publishers Guild, the Reading Agency with libraries, World Book Day, the BBC and RTE, one million books were given away for free by volunteers to members of the public across the UK and Ireland last March 5, 2011.
A total of 1 million copies of each of the 25 carefully selected titles were given away in street corners, on buses and trains, in cafés, pubs, bars, village halls, arts centers, libraries and bookshops, workplaces, hospitals and even prisons. The twenty-five titles were selected by a wide-ranging editorial committee.
For 2012, World Book Night will be celebrated on April 23 to coincide with UNESCO’s International Day of the Book and the birthday of William Shakespeare. Last October 24, the 25 titles to be given away were announced, and they are as follows:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Vintage)
The Player of Games by Iain M Banks (Little, Brown)
Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown)
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson (Transworld)
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Harper Collins)
The Take by Martina Cole (Headline)
Harlequin by Bernard Cornwell (Harper Collins)
Someone Like You by Roald Dahl (Penguin)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Penguin)
Room by Emma Donoghue (Pan Macmillan)
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Little, Brown)
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber)
Misery by Stephen King (Hodder)
The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (Transworld)
Small Island by Andrea Levy (Headline)
Let the Right One In by John Ajvde Lindqvist (Quercus)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Pan Macmillan)
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (Vintage)
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell (Headline)
The Damned Utd by David Peace (Faber)
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (Transworld)
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (Penguin)
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson (Vintage)
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (Vintage)
The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak (Transworld)
It was also announced that the US will be joining the celebration of World Book Night on the same day in cooperation with Barnes & Noble, the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers and Ingram Book Distributors. The US World Book Night will select 25 titles as well.