About World Book Night

What is World Book Night?

World Book Night is a national celebration of reading and books which takes place on 23 April every year. Books are given out across the UK with a focus on creating a nation of readers, and reaching those who don’t read regularly through public libraries. World Book Night is run by the charity The Reading Agency, a national charity that inspires people to become confident and enthusiastic readers.

World Book Night also sees hundreds of events taking place across the UK, from small community gatherings to author readings in flagship libraries that celebrate and share reading with the aim of inspiring more people to become regular readers.

Why 23 April?

23 April is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, chosen in honour of Shakespeare and Cervantes who both died on 23 April 1616 (and it was also, probably, Shakespeare’s birthday).

Who we want to reach

Where do the books go?

In 2024, we’re working with public libraries to match books to underserved groups across the UK. Libraries regularly serve these communities, whether through outreach programmes, community support groups or direct visits. This new approach allows us to reach emerging, lapsed and reluctant readers in hospitals, prisons, shelters and more, with strong access points to reading through the library service. Applications to receive books closed in January 2024 and all books have now been allocated.

About the books

How do you choose the books?

In 2024, we’re focusing on Quick Reads; short books and great stories by bestselling authors. Quick Reads provide a route into reading that prioritises great story telling and adult-focused content while ensuring the books are written in an accessible and easy to read style. The books are written by some of the most popular authors in the UK – including Andy McNab, Jojo Moyes, Anne Cleeves, Ian Rankin and Benjamin Zephaniah – so they can be a brilliant entry point to new genres, authors as well as the spark to reignite or build up the joy of reading. Find out more about Quick Reads.

What ages are the books suitable for?

World Book Night is for adults and young people. Titles for young people are marked on our website with ‘YA’ and it is organisations’ responsibility to ensure that the books they are promoting are suitable for their recipients.

Can I receive a selection of titles?

Due to logistical reasons, we are currently unable to offer organisations a selection of titles.

Who pays for the books?

The cost of printing and distributing the books are met by each book’s publisher.

People who give out their own books away on World Book Night choose and supply the books they give themselves. They can be new or second-hand and either taken from the volunteer’s shelves or bought specially.

I want a World Book Night book, how do I get one?

All books included on the World Book Night list are in-print and available to buy from retailers or borrow from public libraries. The 2024 Quick Reads will be published on 11 April 2024.

I have a book from a previous year that says to register it online to track it. Where do I register it?

The format of World Book Night has changed over the years and we used to have special editions of all the books on the list. Each book had a unique number that allowed its journey to be tracked online. We no longer track these books, but if you have a copy please do still pass it onto someone else.

About participating organisations

Who can take part this year?

We have announced a new distribution model for World Book Night 2024, whereby books will be given to public libraries. With their extensive partnerships and local connections, public libraries are a powerful channel for getting books into the hands of underserved groups across the UK. Libraries regularly serve these communities, whether through outreach programmes, community support groups or direct visits. This new approach allows us to reach emerging, lapsed and reluctant readers in hospitals, prisons, shelters and more. Please contact [email protected] for further questions about the new model. Applications to receive books closed in January 2024 and all books have now been allocated.

Anybody can participate in World Book Night as a day to celebrate reading. Find out how.

I work for a community library. Can I apply for books if we are independent from the local authority?

If a community library is completely independent from the local authority, you can apply to receive books, regardless of if the authority libraries are also applying.

My organisation is no longer eligible to apply to receive books as we’re not a library. What do we do?

We understand this distribution shift may cause some initial disappointment for recipient organisations who were hoping to apply for direct allocations of books. We believe supporting libraries to gift through existing and new local connections will support stronger access points to reading, ultimately helping us to serve our mission. This model will enable us to spread the power of reading as widely as possible for World Book Night. We recommend contacting your local library to find out about partnering with them for their giveaway. Contact [email protected] for help finding the right contact. Applications to receive books closed in January 2024 and all books have now been allocated.

How can I get involved at other times of the year?

There are other opportunities to get involved in reading in local communities through The Reading Agency. 95% of previous volunteers with World Book Night said they thought that being part of a national charity promoting reading in other ways was a positive thing and that they wanted to get involved in other volunteering opportunities.

For those of you who would be happy to get more people reading more at other times of the year then we would like to grow our band of volunteers and help you get involved with Reading Groups for Everyone and, in the future, our programmes that support young people and adult literacy learners.

When will I hear if my application has been successful, and when will the books arrive?

Successful applicants will be told in February 2024. The books will be delivered in early-mid April 2024 in for World Book Night on 23 April.

I’m from an organisation and can no longer take part – what do I do?

Please let us know as soon as possible by sending an email to [email protected]

Giving away your books

I’m excited but also nervous about giving out my books; can you give me any advice?

Whether you’re from an organisation receiving our publisher-donated books, or you’re an individual giving away your own books, we’ve prepared some suggested ‘prompts’ for use when approaching new readers, which you can find here.

Which book should I give away?

You’re free to give away whichever book you choose on World Book Night, and it’s important that you can enthuse about it yourself to your chosen recipient. But turning someone on to reading is not about you, it’s about them. It’s about nudging them towards the realisation that there will always be something of relevance to their own lives that they can enjoy – whether it’s a biography of someone they admire, a novel set in the place they live or a picture book to share with their children. Think about what might spark their interest and then look for the book that they won’t be able to resist.

Do I have to give my books away on 23 April?

We ask that books are given out on or around 23 April. If there is an event taking place (whether specially organised or a public event) either in the days before or after at which you wish to give out your books, that’s fine.

Questions for libraries and bookshops

What role will libraries and bookshops play?

Local libraries and bookshops are vital community reading hubs and incredibly important to World Book Night. Libraries are at the heart of our book giveaway, and both libraries and bookshops can get involved in celebrating. Updated toolkits for 2024 will be available in January.

The rules state that only one application per organisation will be accepted. Should I apply on behalf of a single library or a whole authority?

Due to the number of books that are available, we are only able to accept one application per library authority. This is to ensure a fair spread of books across the country. If selected, you can choose whether to distribute your books in one library, or across the authority. We encourage libraries to think about how you can use your books to engage people who don’t regularly use the library. This may be through partnering with local organisations, or outreach work.

Questions about events

I want to host an event for World Book Night; do you have any tips or resources?

We would love for you to have a World Book Night event, and to share your stories of the event with us. You’ll be able to download booklists, images, banners and Twitter cards from the resources section of our website in 2024.

Do I have to have my event on 23 April?

Although ideally events would be held on the evening of World Book Night itself, we know that the event you’re planning might need to be a different time or day. As long as it is held close to 23 April, and is clearly linked to World Book Night, that’s fine with us!