April 23, 2012 is UNESCO’s World Book Day. World Book Day “marks the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes”. The intent of UNESCO’s World Book Day is to promote reading, publishing, and the protection of intellectual property through copyrights.
As a spinoff of World Book Day, a nonprofit has decided to capitalize on the promotion of reading by designated the evening of April 23, 2012 World Book Night. According to their website:
World Book Night is an annual celebration designed to spread a love of reading and books. To be held in the U.S. as well as the U.K. and Ireland on April 23, 2012. It will see tens of thousands of people go out into their communities to spread the joy and love of reading by giving out free World Book Night paperbacks.
This list of books being given away is impressive including Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, Babara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible and Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner (and several other notable must reads).
World Book Night is supported by American book publishers, the American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble, the American Library Association, the Association of American Publishers, and Ingram Book Distributors. The Board of Directors features a number of notables from the book sales and publishing circuit. The premise behind World Book Night is effort will “promote the value of reading, of printed books, and of bookstores and libraries to everyone year-round.”
World Book Night is branching out into the United States after its successful initial launch within the U.K. in 2011. In an interview with Time, World Book Night founder Jamie Byng emphasized the emotional qualities that books can bring into our lives including connections to those we share reading with as well as a more empathetic view of the world. Author Leif Enger whose book Peace Like a River is one of the books being given away commends the publishing industry (which has been struggling with sales numbers due to eBooks) for using such a positive approach to put books in the hands of prospective readers and to cultivate a true love of reading.
The event organizers aspire to give away 1 million books.
What do you think? Will this effort inspire more people to read and connect with one another? What’s keeping you from reading? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out what author Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist) has to say about World Book Night in the video below.
[Video via YouTube - Harpertrade Channel]