Publishers celebrate World Book Night with a host of inspiring new initiatives

22 April 2016

Image: Penguin Random House UK and Ministry of Stories give out books at Hackney Community College

22 April 2016: Tomorrow on Saturday 23 April, UNESCO International Day of the Book, Shakespeare’s birthday and also the 400th anniversary of his death, 187,500 copies of 15 specially printed World Book Night titles will be given by a network of volunteer reading enthusiasts and institutions around the UK focussing on reaching the 36% of the UK population who don’t read for pleasure. Since the inaugural World Book Night in 2011, an extraordinary group of 56,000 volunteers has been created, giving books away to over 2.25 million people.

2000 institutions nationwide will be taking part in this year’s World Book Night mass giveaway, including libraries, hospitals, prisons, colleges, schools and homeless shelters. In a new initiative for 2016 publishers will also giving out copies of their own stock on Friday 22 April within their neighbourhoods. This will increase the number of books being given away as part of the celebrations and highlights the unique opportunity World Book Night presents for givers to become better connected with their local communities.

Ali Smith book donated to every library in the UK

Penguin Random House UK is donating a copy of Ali Smith’s Public Library and Other Stories to every library in the UK to tie in with World Book Night. In a letter to librarians Ali Smith says:

“This year on 23 April we celebrate…the transformative power of books. Please accept this book, from me and everyone at Penguin, for the invaluable and unsung work our libraries and librarians do for all of us.”

Alongside this, Penguin Random House volunteers will be working with creative writing charity partner Ministry of Stories to give away 250 mixed adult titles to the local community in Hackney, at a market stall organised by the local community college. They will be engaging members of the local community in the work of Ministry of Stories at the same time and are also supporting Ministry of Stories’ short story competition for World Book Night by providing prizes.

Joanna Prior, Managing Director of Penguin General and President of the Publishers Association, said:

“World Book Night is a unique opportunity for us as publishers to engage with the communities both on our doorstep, and across the UK, and to share the joy of books and reading.”

“To give a book is to start a conversation”

Pan Macmillan’s Social Committee will be rescuing about 1,400 first format books from the warehouse. These will be stickered with the World Book Night logo and given out in an office desk drop of about 500 copies, with staff handing out two books on their way home or over the weekend.

The remaining books are being handed out by staff volunteering on their lunch break in the streets around their offices in King’s Cross; some to passers-by and others to local businesses. Pan Macmillan will also be donating some of the books to their current nominated charity the Trussell Trust, who run the local food bank on Pentonville Road.

Canongate is coordinating their giveaway on Friday through their offices in both London and Edinburgh, handing out some of their favourite Canongate Canons, including No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July, The Finishing School by Muriel Spark and Incognito by David Eagleman. Also included is The Gift by Lewis Hyde, which is the book that inspired Jamie Byng, CEO of Canongate, to set up World Book Night in 2011.

Jamie Byng, Canongate Books CEO and founder World Book Night says:

“To give a book is to start a conversation, to open a door, to build a bridge and it is a beautiful and generous way to connect with another person. We are all thrilled at Canongate at this latest development of World Book Night and will be one of many publishers celebrating books, authors and reading in this way. What’s not to love?”

Book shares at workplaces

The team at Faber are planning to set up a stand outside Bloomsbury House giving away copies and encouraging people to give a book to a friend or colleague.

HarperCollins are holding book shares on both Thursday and Friday, giving out copies of World Book Night title Treachery by S.J. Parris to over 3,000 News Corp staff in their offices at The News Building, and to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, they will be working with local businesses in London Bridge to give out Collins Classics editions of Shakespeare plays.

Hachette will be visiting local businesses with books to giveaway, including RNLI Embankment Lifeboat Station, RNLI London Office, Local Salvation Army Centre, Gibson Dunn LLP, Baker & McKenzie LLP and Taylor Wessing LLP.

This adds to the support already given to World Book Night every year by publishers who produce thousands of copies of the select World Book Night titles for the mass giveaway nationwide.

This year’s titles

2016’s list of titles sees a sensational line up designed to bring reading and books into people’s lives. It covers a range of genres including crime, poetry, non-fiction, Quick Reads, historical and contemporary fiction, fantasy and memoir. Appearing on the list are bestselling favourites from the leading lights of the literary scene, including Holly Bourne’s Am I Normal Yet?, Love Poems by Carol Ann Duffy, Matt Haig’s Reasons To Stay Alive, The Rotters’ Club by Jonathan Coe, _Treachery _by SJ Parris and Ann Cleeves’ Too Good To Be True.

Get involved

Buy tickets to our flagship World Book Night event at the British Library

Find out what’s happening at libraries near you

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