World Book Night is an ambitious campaign to give away a million free books across America all on one day — April 23, 2012 — by enlisting 50,000 volunteer book lovers to help promote reading by going into their communities and distributing free copies of a book they especially enjoy.
World Book Night was successfully launched in the UK earlier this year, and now the U.S. is joining the effort, which is supported by American publishers, bookstores and libraries nationwide.
Anna Quindlen has enthusiastically agreed to be the campaign’s Honorary National Chairperson. Quindlen said: “What’s better than a good book? A whole box of them, and the opportunity to share them with new readers.
The idea behind World Book Night is inspired, and as a writer and a reader I’m thrilled to be part of it.”
World Book Night U.S. board chairman Morgan Entrekin added: “We are thrilled and flattered that Anna has agreed to join our cause. Her energy has already been a great asset to the campaign, and we look forward to her being a leading voice among the many for this ambitious effort to promote reading and a love of books across America.”
World Book Night U.S. Executive Director Carl Lennertz said: “We want the book givers to reach out to new or light readers, especially in underserved places like nursing homes, schools, hospitals and poor neighborhoods, but also in public gathering places like coffee shops and malls.
And by offering a range of fiction, non-fiction and books for teens, we believe we have great books that the givers will be passionate about handing out, and will appeal to a wide audience of potential new readers.”
Sherman Alexie, author of the World Book Night U.S. 2012 pick The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, said: “This is a celebration of the individual book and the individual reader. I am honored to take part.”
Also a World Book Night U.S. author, for her book Because of Winn-Dixie, Kate DiCamillo added: “It makes perfect sense to me that World Book Night will take place in spring. Extending your hand to give someone a book, a story, is a gesture of hope and joy. It is a chance for all of us, givers and receivers, to break into blossom.”
The book picks have been finalized and there will be 30 picks printed, rather than 25. Lennertz said: “We decided to expand several categories, notably from three to five YA/middle reader books, due to popular demand from booksellers and librarians, as well as adding a sci-fi novel, an additional mystery, and a surprise classic from an indie press. I am thrilled about this, as it broadens the appeal of the list to our two audiences: the 50,000 book givers and the million new readers we want to reach.”
The books were chosen by a panel of independent booksellers, Barnes & Noble buyers, and librarians through several rounds of voting. Thirty-five thousand copies of each World Book Night title will be printed as special, not-for-resale paperbacks, totaling over a million copies to be distributed nationwide. Copies of several of the picks will be shipped directly to military bases, and there will be an outreach to prison libraries.
Lennertz added: “We didn’t ask the panel to come up with a best-books-of-all-time list. I asked that they envision themselves handing out the book in a public or social services setting, and to imagine that book getting someone excited about reading. This is a beautiful mix of books.”
World Book Night will take place on April 23, 2012, in the U.K. and U.S., with thousands of volunteers going out into their communities to give away special World Book Night free paperbacks.
World Book Night in the U.S. is a non-profit organization, and has filed for 501(c)3 charitable status. World Book Night U.S. is supported by publishers, Barnes & Noble, the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, the American Library Association, and Ingram Content Group.
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