Night of a Million Books
World Book Night is coming to the U.S.! Mark your calendar: April 23, 2012.
Imagine being given 48 copies of one of your favorite books for free to give to anyone you want. That's the basic idea behind World Book Night, which was held for the first time in the U.K. this past March 5. Participants chose one of 25 titles, and then received 48 copies of the book and gave them out to anyone they wanted. During the first World Book Night, some 20,000 people gave away a million specially printed books--40,000 copies each of the 25 titles that included Life of Pi by Yann Martel, New Selected Poems by Seamus Heaney, The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Beloved by Toni Morrison. All parts of the book world came together to support the effort, including publishers, booksellers, writers and, last but not least, readers. Just in the past few months readers in the U.K. nominated titles for next year's U.K. World Book Night. The final list of 25 titles for 2012 will be announced at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.
We're also excited because the newly appointed CEO of World Book Night U.S. is Carl Lennertz, who is leaving his post as v-p of retail marketing at HarperCollins. Throughout his career in bookselling and publishing, Carl has been a friend to bookstores and readers and a passionate advocate of books and authors. We know he'll bring that enthusiasm to this program, and we congratulate him on his new position.
Readers, naturally, are the ultimate winners from this great news. World Book Night allows book lovers to pair word-of-mouth recommendations with actual books. It's sure to be an unforgettable combination.
For now, we don't have a lot of details, but we know that the American Booksellers Association is a sponsor and that a steering committee is being formed. We'll keep you up to date as the program develops. --Bethanne Patrick