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Spread the Fever: April 23rd is World Book Night

USA, UK, IRELAND—Reading is contagious. Thanks to World Book Night (as seen in photo 1), the book fever is spreading. On April 23, 2013, an estimated 50,000 volunteers will be distributing more than one million free books worldwide. In the United States alone, 500,000 books will be handed out in over 6,000 towns and cities across the country. Oh, for the love of reading! That’s a lot of books.

World Book Night started in the UK in 2011. The perpetual date, April 23rd, was chosen to honor William Shakespeare’s birthday. WBN has since spread to the United States, Ireland and Germany. Booksellers, librarians, publishing houses, authors and book-givers team up to get books into the hands of light and non-readers to help spread their love of books. Authors waive royalties on WBN books and publishing houses cover costs for specially printed World Book Night editions.

Laura Peraza, WBN Social Media Manager, got involved when founder, Carl Lennertz, had the vision to promote WBN through social media and sought help from New York University. The M.S. in Publishing at NYU set up a committee in which Peraza and seven other grad students joined. Last year, Peraza was appointed as World Book Night’s Social Media Manager. Says Peraza, “I was honored and happy for the opportunity. It meant I could continue to be inspired by the wonderful givers across the country…I could keep helping a cause I believe in, and in a small way, help spread the love of reading in the USA.” 

Part of Peraza’s role is to collect success stories from givers. She has received too many to count, but ones that really struck her include a surfer who handed out books at sea and a grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter who handed out books to firefighters, EMS crew, and school bus drivers. Peraza’s personal favorite?

 “A giver who went to a shelter for homeless, throwaway, and runaway teens. One of the teens was so moved by the gift of a book [that] he shared with her his newfound love of poetry and how it came about after he wrote his suicide note. She continues to visit them.”

The award-winning novel House On Mango Street, a coming of age novel set in the Latino section of Chicago, is amongst the 30 chosen books (a sampling of WBN books is shown in photos 2-18) for this year’s WBN and is available in both English and Spanish. When asked how she feels about participating in the event, author Sandra Cisneros states, "The only way to fall in love with a book is to meet the right book, and no matchmaker can do that. World Book Night helps folks mingle with books, and hopefully a passion will ignite that will change their lives."

So what are WBN book-givers doing this year to help promote reading? Author Lorettajo Kapinos will be throwing a free-book party with members of her writing group at her local YMCA. Kapinos chose Middle School: Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts. “I chose this book because so many parents read James Patterson's adult books. A middle grade kid might not read what his parents’ read, but a parent might encourage it a little more if they know the author. Plus, this book is really funny.” Other books at her WBN party include Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist and John Green’s Looking for Alaska.

Kapinos’ idea is just one of tens of thousands! Help light and non-readers catch the book fever. Find out where World Book Night events are happening in your area and help spread the love of reading. For more information, including full listings of participating books, visit WBN official websites at:

World Book Night USA

World Book Night UK & Ireland

World Book Night Germany

For giver success stories, including the surfer, grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter, and teen shelter stories, visit WBN Giver Testimonials page.

Photo 1: © World Book Night
Photos 2 - 18: courtesy of Google Images