World Book Night

Josie Leavitt -- January 17th, 2012

Okay, I have to confess, I’m not really sure about this venture. On the one hand I think World Book Night is a cool idea: on April 23rd a million free books are to be given out to folks who might not normally read books or have easy access to them. On the other hand, thousands of books being given away might cut into book sales. But, I do love the idea of folks getting books who might not normally read. So I have two minds about this. But, in my new spirit of saying yes more (one of my New Year’s resolutions right after going to the gym) I’ve signed up to be a book giver and a pick-up spot.

I absolutely love the idea of giving books to under-served populations. Getting involved means one of two things. Either you’re one of the people who signs up to give 20 books away or your store is designated a pick-up place.

To become a book giver you have to apply and then be selected.  The World Book Night folks are hoping that 50,000 people will sign up before the February 1st deadline. You select your top three book during the application process and then I guess someone picks out 17 other books for you to give away, it’s not really clear on the website. I will say, the book list is fabulous and peppered with many of my favorites. The goal here is get folks excited about sharing beloved books with folks who might not know about them.

For instance I’ve signed up to be a giver and I’ll be giving my books to the women’s prison. I’ve been working with the prison and know that books are scarce and very needed. So it makes me happy to share some of my favorites with these women. Hopefully, they’ll enjoy the books as much as I do. This seems to be the real goal of World Book Night: sharing the love of books and highlighting literacy issues.

To be a pick-up location is an odd feeling. Basically, folks will come in and get a free box of books and leave the bookstore. We have signed up to be a pick-up location and I have no idea what to expect. Will we be overrun with boxes? I doubt it, but you never know. Honestly, I signed up because I didn’t want to be left out of the fun.

Apparently, the books featured in World Book Night last year in the UK saw a massive increase in sales because of the interest generated by the giveaways. I’m really hoping that happens here. There’s no way to know, but I’m optimistic about it.

 

4 thoughts on “World Book Night

  1. Diane

    When World Book Night (WBN) was extended to the US, I was very excited. I am a reading teacher of adults AND bookseller of several years. I wanted to be a part of the celebration because I promote reading on a daily basis.

    HOWEVER, after waiting for several weeks to notified if our bookstore was selected as a collection point, I sent an email to the WBN people asking why we had not been contacted one way or the other. Yesterday, I finally received word in an email our bookstore was disqualified because it is a USED bookstore! However, the man who sent the email did apologize for his lack of communication.

    In quoting the World Book Night website, the concept of “spreading the love of reading, person to person”, one would think the people involved would also welcome USED bookstores. USED bookstores promote reading just
    as any library or NEW bookstore would.

    In addition, on the application form, NOTHING was said that used bookstores were NOT acceptable as collection points!

    The idea that USED bookstores are disqualified while new bookstores selling only children’s books can qualify to distribute NON-children’s books seems to be a big disconnect with the concept of “spreading the love of reading, person to person. Also, WBN has accepted USED bookstores who do not have “USED” in their name!

    I am very saddened that the people at WBN could decide to disqualify ANY USED bookstore just on the fact that most of the books are not NEW.

    Finally, our USED bookstore donates a number of books on a regular basis to groups and individuals, and we don’t need to have a “World Book Night” to do so.

  2. Ellen R

    You do give away 20 copies of one book. You choose your “first pick” and only get bumped to your second or third choice if there are too many choosing your first pick.
    Last year, the UK and Ireland held the first WBN. Book sales jumped enormously post WBN….the publicity about the titles and the whole concept intrigued lots of people who then went out and bought books.

    I’ve signed up as a giver and as a pick up site, too. And I’m bombarding all my friends/family/neighbors with info. I want LOTS of people in my area to sign up.

    The goal is to make this an annual, worldwide event.

  3. Kitti

    I am REALLY excited about this. I love the list of books that are being offered. The I think it WILL work. I signed up too!

    Because of the Internet, younger people now read a LOT more than Gen Y or X. They’re used to reading, and these books are going to blow open a lot of minds.

    Also…perhaps it will get neighbors to talk to each other, maybe for the first time! I plan to troll my street with my box – it’ll be like a tiny One City One Book. It’ll be One Street, One Book! LOL!

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