Do you love a book so much
you want everyone to read it?
On Saturday 5 March 2011, two days after World Book Day, with the full support of 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 will be given away by an army of passionate readers to members of the public across the UK and Ireland.
The book give-away will comprise 40,000 copies of each of the 25 carefully selected titles, to be given away by 20,000 ‘givers’, who will each distribute 48 copies of their chosen title to whomever they choose on World Book Night. The remaining books will be distributed by World Book Night itself in places that might otherwise be difficult to reach, such as prisons and hospitals.
Today is the official world Book Day, and although in reality it’s the UK & Ireland, it’s still a great idea, to introduce loads of people you’ve never met before to the joys of a book. Most of the people reading this blog on a regular basis, are fellow book bloggers and we are constantly suggesting books to one another, but at the end of the day, aren’t we talking to the converted, individuals that may not have read the book you’re posting about, but are avid readers, bookfiends, and so already half convinced by what you’re suggesting. This was about giving, or attempting to give, books to people whose inclination, taste or even if they read or not you’ve no idea about, you spoke to them face to face and explained why they should read a particular book, why you were doing this.
We, this being my daughter (you’ll meet her soon) and myself, arrived at my chosen destination, Westwood Cross (Shopping Centre) at 11am, armed with our boxes of books – 48 copies of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I had previously phoned to check if it was ok for us to be there, and a big thanks to the Westwood Cross management who welcomed me and were happy to let me have the run of the centre. On arriving I went to the management suite and met Laura, who sorted me out with a pass and was my first recipient of a book.
We set up our stall and started convincing people that we weren’t there to take their money and that the books were free. My daughter was a great help in my mission to spread the word
We spoke to a lot of individuals, not all had heard of the event, not all were interested, but a large amount were, some who took a book, some who were just interested in what we were doing and why. Although enough took a book that in around an hour we, between us, gave away our boxes of books.
The end result was that 48 people went away with a brand new - specially printed for World Book Night - book by an author, the majority had never heard of him, they went with my message, “To enjoy this book, but if it’s not to their taste to pass it on to someone else, that there was no catch beyond the hope that they would be enthralled, and would want to read more”. 48 people left with a smile on their face and a joy they weren’t expecting, make that 50, as my daughter and I both left with a smile, with a joy born of the fact that we were the givers of a small world, that because of that act someone may explore more.
My one proviso, is that although this is World Book Night, it’s really only UK & Ireland, whether this will grow and really become a world book night I don’t know, but I qualify my doubt by saying if I convinced a couple of people to read something they wouldn’t normally read, that’s a result.
“We come into the world intent on finding narrative in everything, in the landscape, in the skies, in the faces of others, and, of course, in the images and words that our species create”. This most human of creative activities defines us, that at the core we are “Reading Animals” intent on reading our own lives and those of others”. Alberto Manguel – A Reader on Reading.