Very sad news for World Book Night fans in the USA. After three years World Book Night in America is to cease. In a statement, executive director Carl Lennertz cited lack of outside funding as the main reason for ending the book-giving project that, through a veritable army of volunteers, aimed to put books directly into the hands of reluctant and non-readers.
"The expenses of running World Book Night U.S., even given the significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributors, and shippers, are too high to sustain without additional outside funding," Lennertz wrote.
On Monday April 23, to celebrate World Book Night, tens of thousands of volunteers across the USA and UK will give away books - a million copies in the UK and half a million in the USA.
If you're not familiar with World Book Night here's a quick overview:
Earlier this year, World Book Night launched in the UK with the aim of giving away one million books to light or non readers in a 24 hour period. It was a huge success and many other countries are expected to join in the fun in the coming years, starting with the USA on April 23, 2012.
The list of 30 books that will be offered on World Book Night USA has just been released. If you are a USA resident aged 16 or over and would like to give away books, go to http://www.us.worldbooknight.org and complete the form which asks, simply, which book you want to give away, where, to whom & why?
It's official, World Book Night is coming to the USA next year! The event will take place on April 23, which is widely recognized as the International Day of the Book.
The first ever World Book Night was held in the UK last year and was a great success. In the lead up to the event, members of the public were invited to request their favorite books from a selection of 25 titles. Those who requested successfully were sent a box of 48 specially printed copies of a single title to give away. On World Book Night, about 20,000 book lovers gave away 40,000 copies of 25 books for a total of one million copies!
The first World Book Night was held in the UK on March 5, 2011 and saw 20,000 people give away one million copies of 25 specially printed books in one day. The event was considered a great success.
In 2012, a second event is scheduled to take place in the UK, but the day will move to April 23, which is recognized as the International Day of the Book; and, according to today's news, other countries, including the USA, might take part. The Day of the Book originates in Catalonia (an autonomous region in the north of Spain). Catalonia has long celebrated April 23rd as the Day of the Rose, because it is the day they celebrate their patron saint, Sant Jordi (St George), whose symbol is a rose. Then, back in 1923, an enterprising bookseller started to promote the holiday as The Day of the Book, because it was on that day in 1616 that Miguel Cervantes (author of Don Quixote) and William Shakespeare both died (Inca Garcilaso de la Vega is also recorded as dying on that day so sometimes he is included in references to The Day of the Book).
Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare are considered to be two of the greatest writers in the history of world literature, and not only were they contemporaries, but they died on the same day - April 23rd, 1616. In Catalonia, an autonomous region in NE Spain, April 23rd is celebrated as both the Day of the Book (in honor of Shakespeare and Cervantes) and the Day of the Rose because it is the day we celebrate the patron saint of Catalonia, Sant Jordi (see previous post for more about this).
Please join me on a photo tour of Barcelona on this special day.....