Every year, in cities all over the world, people get together in bookstores and libraries to collect stacks of books. Then they go out into the night and hand those books out to random people they might meet. What is this magical event? It’s World Book Night–an event designed to introduce good books to non-readers to promote reading and literacy.
World Book Night is one of my favorite book related events all year. Even though it’s primarily celebrated in the UK, I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be a world-wide celebration of reading. The idea of sending book lovers out into the world to hand amazing titles to complete strangers is surreal and wonderful all at once. To that end, I have a challenge for you.
Even though you may not be able to participate in World Book Night proper, due to it being located across the pond, or not having a library or bookstore near you participating, or just generally being unavailable, you can participate in the spirit of the event by giving away books on your own. In fact, WBN has a volunteer form for exactly this (to keep up with the number of books given away, I imagine.)
So here’s the deal. Between now and Thursday, find a book (or several!) you’d like to give away. This can be a copy of one of your favorite books picked up from a used book store or ordered from Amazon, it can be a book from your own personal shelves, or it can even be one of those books you picked up at the library sale but have to admit you’re probably never going to get around to reading. If you’re an author it can be one of the books you’ve written. (Promotion and philanthropy at once? Double win!) If you’re a friend of an author, ask them if they have any extra copies they’d like to share.
Then, on Thursday, find someone to give that book away to. Maybe its your next-door-neighbour you only casually wave at when you pass in the driveway. Maybe it’s a co-worker or a regular customer who you know doesn’t read much. Maybe it’s a distant family member. Maybe you walk up to a total stranger in Wal-mart and say: “Tonight is World Book Night. I would like to give you a book and encourage you to read it, enjoy it, and share that love with another stranger someday.”
You can celebrate World Book Night online as well, by spreading the word, or gifting ebooks, or perhaps sharing an excerpt from your favorite novel on the social network of your choice. Try to get other people to join you in your goal to give at least one book away Thursday night. Not only will you be promoting literacy, you’ll be reaching out to other people to improve their lives, and maybe make the world a better place.
Who will join in spreading love of literacy on Thursday night?