This past Wednesday, the 23rd was World Book Night. For not those familiar with the event, each year a panel of librarians and booksellers pick 30-35 books and then members of the public are allowed to apply to be a book giver. These givers pick one to three titles and in the end are given one book to give (20 copies of it). Now if you’re wondering about who pays for the production of the books, etc. you might be surprised to learn that authors wave their royalties and the publisher pays to produce the special edition. The ultimate goal of World Book Night is to get books into the hands of people who normally don’t read or have access to books (due to financial problems or perhaps due to their location). It’s a really great organization!
For several years I’ve wanted to be a giver, but haven’t had the chance. Earlier this year I applied and was happy to see the email that I had been accepted. The book I given was Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity though I admit, I hoped I would be handing out Stephen Chbosky’s Perks of being a Wallflower. When you apply you pick up to three potential titles. I was happy with what I was given.
Since I work for a non-profit that helps homeless veterans, in my application I stated where I would be handing out my books and why (though the location can change based on circumstances). Honestly, I feel like I cheated a bit when it came to World Book Night. Why? Because I divided up my stack of 20. My mother took 10 books for her shop (her customers are mostly low income) and I took the other copies to work where I kept them next to my desk.
My first official copy was given to a teen daughter of a client and she was excited when I gave her the copy. Later she told me she had been dying to read the book, but couldn’t and now she could (yay!). Over the course of the day, I handed out copies and even convinced a few people in the office who don’t read to take a copy. My mom reported that she had no trouble giving out the copies I gave her with a few people asking if she had anymore left. Next year though I do plan to actually make my way to one of the shelters and interact with people more directly.
Did you participate in World Book Night? If so, what book did you hand out and what was your experience like?