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?

Yes, I love the idea of the day of the book. Flowers in exchange for a book seems like a great custom between a romantic couple, or two friends exchanging their favorite reads would be a great custom, I believe. Other than that kind of an exchange, I don't know which books would be good to give away unless they had to do with literacy or reading. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society would be an example of a book on the subject of reading. (Although it is not a book I enjoyed, I know lots of people did.) Reading Lolita in Tehran would be another fantastic book to give away on this day.
# Posted By Lynette | 5/14/11 4:16 PM
When I heard about World Book Night, I was disappointed to find that it wasn't truly worldwide and just in the UK. I'd love to see it here in the US, though I'm not sure how it will go over. Unfortunately, not everyone in this country reads regularly, but I know I'd participate if there were an event near me, especially if it involved free books. :)
# Posted By Valerie | 5/30/11 12:42 PM
Free books are always welcome to me! I would love this event to occur in the US! I think whoever does this should give classics from each genre.
# Posted By Vivian | 6/16/11 6:37 PM
I would love to go to an event like this. I love reading and collecting books. There are many great books I have not read yet. MY TBR pile keeps growing. Many chicklit books top my list of great reading.
# Posted By cc | 6/18/11 1:47 PM
In response to the post by "cc" - as I understand it the event in the UK last year wasn't an event that you "went to" as such. Instead, book lovers were invited to request a box of books from the organizers. The books were then mailed to them with the understanding that they would distribute them on the day for free. I think people were able to request the title that particularly appealed to them (presumably with backup choices if their first choice was already assigned), thus ensuring that the books were passed on with enthusiasm!
# Posted By Davina - BookBrowse Editor | 6/18/11 3:22 PM
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