Two cheers for World Book Night

In March 2011, the UK is to see one of the strangest, and yet most appealing book events I've ever come across. March 5 has been declared World Book Night. On that evening 1 million (no, that's not a misprint) books will be given away.

Around 20,000 people will each be given 48 copies of a book they would like to champion in giving to other people. Given, as in for free. The idea is that these book ambassadors will give out these titles, encouraging others to read them and to start reading more. I don't know if it will work, but it's a brave initiative. If you live in the UK you can request to be one of the 20,000 by signing up at the World Book Night website.

Why only two cheers? I think non-fiction is unfairly under-represented (and not particular well covere by the selection available) - I would have liked to see it 50:50. And for that matter, I think restricting the books to 25 titles to choose between is even more restrictive. The person giving the books away should be passionate about the specific title, and the chances are most readers won't be passionate about most of these books. I really can't find any that I'd be happy to talk positively about. So it would have been much better to make it 48 copies of a title of your choice - though I appreciate that would make the logistics harder.

Despite those reservations, though, it remains a brilliant idea. If one of the titles does appeal to you, why not volunteer - it could be fun!


  1. Oh, I got really excited for a bit there - until I saw the list of books :-(

    I'd have loved to have given away something like 'Surely you must be joking ...'

  2. Gee...I wonder who choose all these titles of famous books by mostly well-known authors published by big firms....I feel a rant coming on, but I'll spare you.

  3. Exactly - the list is not ideal by any means. I'd be with you on Feynman, Peet!

  4. I've already applied but there were only a few books on the list that I thought particularly suitable for giving away. I'll let you know whether I'm successful.

  5. Just heard I've been selected to give away 48 copies of Agent Zig Zag by Ben Macintyre.


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