23 Feb 2011


How can I possibly have missed out on WORLD BOOK NIGHT?

To take place on the 5th of March World Book Night (WBN), and I quote, represents the most ambitious and far-reaching celebration of adult books and reading ever attempted in the UK and Ireland in which one million books will be given away.

YES, one million books.

So how does it work? The book give-away will comprise 40,000 copies of each of the 25 carefully selected TITLES, to be given away by 20,000 ‘givers’, who will each distribute 48 copies of their chosen title to whomever they choose on WBN. The remaining books will be distributed by WBN itself in places that might otherwise be difficult to reach, such as prisons and hospitals.

You mentioned 'givers', are you one of these? Sadly not but I hope to participate in any further events.

A million books ..... You would think everyone would be happy. Not so ..... some booksellers have branded WBN MISGUIDED AND MISJUDGED.

Masterminded by Jamie Byng, managing director of publisher Canongate, the event has a roster of starry supporters and will receive extensive coverage on BBC2. Many of the authors – who will all waive the royalties on their books – have given WBN enthusiastic public support.
But But Vanessa Robertson, who owns the Edinburgh Bookshop in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh, has claimed that, far from spreading the joy of reading WBN will simply flood the market with free books and devalue the work of authors in the eyes of the public.
In a highly critical blog posted on the website State of Independents (click HERE to view) Robertson says many booksellers are "horrified" by the "misguided and misjudged" venture.
(More of a valid point to me) Andrew Bently-Steed, who manages the Edinburgh Bookshop said "The authors whose books have been chosen are superstars, but most authors have under £7,000 average annual earnings and some major retailers are treating their books like loss leaders." and suggested that a better event would be a "Fair Trade Book Fortnight" at which all retailers agreed to charge the full cover price for their books to support authors. - Benedicte Page, the Guardian (11/02/2011)

Hmm, some interesting points. I suppose it would have been a good thing if perhaps some lesser known books/authors had been involved in WBN as a way of showcasing and promoting their works BUT surely anything that promotes reading (and the possible buying of other books perhaps by less well known authors) has to be a positive thing.


Oh and one other thing ........

You remember my mentioning the INDIE LIT AWARDS and how my vote went to BALTHAZAR JONES AND THE TOWER OF LONDON ZOO? Well, the winners have been announced - click HERE to see just who won.


Dizzy C said...

I was alerted to this when readers were being asked to apply to be 'givers'.

I didn't apply because although I would loved to have been part of the 'giving' process I could not see how I could possibly find 50 people who would want the ONE book I had chosen.

If 'givers' were sent a selection of 50 books it would have been easier to give them away. IMO.


Misha said...

I like the sound of World Book Night! Like you said, anything that encourages people to read is surely a great thing.

A said...

Interesting information your collected here.

Lilly said...

I like the sound of that World Book Night! But I think that Fair Trade Book Fortnight sounds good as well.

Suko said...

I am not sure how I feel about this. Although I do get many free books, I am not sure this should be done on a grand scale, even if it encourages reading, because what we give or give away freely is not always seen as important. How about creating libraries with these books instead of giving them to individuals?

joan said...

hi thanks for hoping over to my blog and leaving a comment

GMR said...

Love the sound of the event, but geesh, the harsh criticism! I see their point in one light, but in my mind...it helps spread the love of reading and really even that many books is not going to give EVERYONE a copy of the titles; but it just might help push those that read them to recommend them to another and another and so on.

Kelly said...

This is interesting...something I'd not heard about. Of course there will always be critics. I'm not sure what my opinion is at this point. At first glance it seems like a good idea.

Jenners said...

I guess I would agree that it should be a mix of known and unknown authors. But free books? I'm all over that .. and anything that promotes reading.