Happy World Book Night, everyone! For those of you who don’t know, World Book Night (WBN) is a celebration begun in the U.K., where volunteers (“book givers”) go out into their communities to hand out free books with the mission to connect to others–particularly non-readers–through stories and promote a love of reading. Pretty awesome, right? The organization is nonprofit and prints 500,000 special WBN edition books. Titles are chosen by a panel of independent booksellers and librarians and are a mix of genres, contemporary offerings, as well as classics. Authors waive their royalties, so that these books can be printed for free, making this night a true team effort.
This is my second year as a book giver, and I must confess to being both excited and anxious. How could I not be thrilled about participating in such an amazing event? The only sticking point for me is that I hate approaching strangers and my already small voice grows even smaller as I take to the streets with the mission of an extrovert. I’ll happily chat with someone I don’t know about books if they come up to me; however approaching commuters locked onto their phones is an incredibly intimidating prospect. Last year I was mistaken for a Scientologist as I tried to entice people into taking a free copy of The Phantom Tollbooth. I eventually had to call a friend to help me empty my box of books. It would be a lot easier if I had my dream basset hound, who could wander with me wearing a “Free Books!” sign, and bring the strangers to me instead of vice versa. Oh well, I guess I just have to buck-up for reading. Or go borrow a basset.
This year I’m giving out Agatha Christie’s After the Funeral, a Hercule Poirot mystery that kicks of with a bloody axe murder and the attacks just keep coming. Who wouldn’t want to end up with a free copy of that?! This year, WBN has also put together a free eBook story collection. Just head over to eworldbooknight.org to download your copy.
So, read a book, give a book, and be nice if someone walks up to you tonight, arm outstretched, story in hand.