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).
Thus a tradition was born that in return for being given a rose, the woman gives her man a book. So, in Catalonia, the Day of the Rose and the Day of the Book combine into a celebration of love, literature and reading (photo tour of Sant Jordi's Day); and, in more recent years, April 23rd has become recognized as The Day of the Book in a number of other countries.
The titles given away on World Book Night in the UK last year ranged from classics to recently published novels, from poetry to biography.
Do you think World Book Night would be a good idea in the USA (or whatever country you live in)? If so, what books would you like to see given away?