We've compiled answers to the questions we get asked most often. If you don’t see your question, please contact us at the email address at the bottom!
About World Book Night
About World Book Night
A. World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person. Each year on April 23 –Shakespeare’s birthday– tens of thousands of people in the U.S. go out into their communities and give a total of half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers. For more information about World Book Night, please visit the About Us section of the website.
A. An independent panel of booksellers and librarians selects the books, using lists curated by experts in the bookselling and library world. All of the information comes from external, independent sources. Additionally, each year, givers from the previous year’s World Book Night nominate books for the panel to consider.
The World Book Night U.S. books must meet the following criteria:
- Accessible books of quality.
- Recently-published books as well as established classics.
- Books available in paperback.
- Any genre of book – fiction, mysteries, romance, SF/fantasy, classics, poetry, humor, autobiography, and young adult books.
- The list overall must have a gender, ethnic, and geographical balance.
A. April 23 is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare’s birthday! It was also chosen in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, who died on April 23, 1616 (the same day as Shakespeare). In the Catalan region of Spain, the day is celebrated by giving a book and a flower to a loved one. World Book Night was first celebrated in the UK and Ireland in 2011.
A. World Book Day is celebrated in the UK and Ireland by giving schoolchildren a book token. World Book Night was introduced in 2011 in the UK and Ireland to bring attention to books for adult readers. With its launch in 2012, World Book Night U.S. chose to continue the focus on adult readers, with a few books for teens and middle readers included.
A. Many, many other wonderful programs already exist to get books to young children, and they are essential. But World Book Night U.S. fills another important need: Encouraging reading in the teen and adult population, especially those who may not have access to printed books for reasons of means or geography.
The goal of World Book Night is to seek out adult readers wherever they are, in towns and cities, in public settings or in places from nursing homes to food pantries, low-income schools to mass transit.
A. Applications to be a WBN Book Giver for 2014 are open from Oct. 24, 2013 through Jan. 5, 2014. Please visit our Be a Giver page for more information.
A. World Book Night U.S. books are specially produced, not-for-resale paperbacks. Book givers will receive 20 copies of one book, a book they love from the list of 35 World Book Night U.S. selections. In their applications, givers make three choices, and we do our absolute best to get everyone their first or second choice.
A. Book givers receive 20 free paperback copies of one World Book Night U.S. title, not too many to carry but enough to share with a good number of potential new readers.
A. We’d like the book to be one that you’ve read and loved, so when you go out on April 23, you can say “I loved this book, and I think you will, too.” It’s integral to the fun and purpose of the day, as well as the act of giving something dear to oneself. Due to a limited budget, we cannot accommodate requests for assortments.
A. There is no charge for these special, not-for-resale editions. Givers will be responsible for any expenses incurred in picking up their box and distributing the books. These books cannot be resold in any fashion.
Authors have foregone their royalties to make this possible. Please see the full list of Partners and Sponsors in our About Us section. Through their generosity and the work of many volunteers—including you—we are able to make the books available free of charge.
A. We will do our best to make sure all selected givers are able to pick up their books at a bookstore or library close to their home address. We have over two thousand locations across America designated. For cost reasons, we are unable to ship to home addresses.
A. We encourage people to go out in 2’s and 3’s – family or friends - if you like, but you should each apply separately. (Remember to use separate email addresses.) But if you are an organization or large group, we will consider any proposal you send us; we’ve had some successful group/organization activities in the past. We have a finite number of boxes and individual givers come first, but email us your proposal and we’ll get back to you in January with an okay or not.
It’s very important that in return for such a quantity of boxes that you follow a special process and meet extra requirements:
- Where do you intend to give out the books?
- To whom do you intend to give books?
- Why do you want to participate in World Book Night?
- How will you engage local media to cover your activities? (this is essential)
2. Once you email us, you will need to fill out an extensive excel form we’d provide, with all the participant names and email addresses, and an acknowledgement that ALL participants are fully versed in the mission of World Book Night and are aware of all the procedural and legal guidelines.
Our mantra is quality not quantity, and we are not able, unfortunately, to blanket a town or school with books for everyone. WBN is a person-to-person interaction and conversation. But we’ve had some great organizational activities in the past and we’d love to hear from you.
A. All box pick-ups will be on the week prior to April 23rd. You will hear from us and your pick up location with details in early April.
A. Absolutely not. We ask that everyone wait until that day or during the week after. World Book Night is a local, national, and global experience, and it begins on April 23rd.
A. World Book Night is intended to indicate the event’s focus on teens and adults. However, book givers can go out anytime on April 23 to a place of their choosing to give away their 20 copies. Givers should pick a safe, well-populated public area or indoor setting, like a hospital or school. All givers must be 16 years or older; anyone younger must be accompanied by an adult.
A. Please don’t go to malls or retail locations.
A. At this time, we do not have the funds to produce promotional materials. We are happy to announce that for WBN 2014, a wide range of promotional items, including T-shirts, totes, and hats, will be available for purchase from Zazzle.com. Complete details are forthcoming. We will alert all WBN friends when the store is open. We are also happy to provide downloadable resources for you to use, such as our logo and posters. To access these, visit the All Resources page in our Resources section on the website. If a location where you are going needs something official to explain what World Book Night U.S. is, direct them to this website and show them your letter and certificate.
A. There will be bookstore and library events in the week before the event. All of these are hosted and organized by the individual stores and libraries, and we hope you are able to join their celebrations. If there is not a location near you, we hope you join the conversation online. World Book Night is made up of the thousands of individual interactions and celebrations of reading and giving that take place on the day.
There will also be launch events the night before World Book Night, on April 22, featuring the WBN authors. Map of these events will come in early 2014.
A. World Book Night U.S. is primarily focused on communities—your community. It’s the second half of our mission, the “person to person.” You are the reading ambassadors, if you will, spreading the word locally. Local media covers book givers’ activities in hundreds of cities and towns, and the givers themselves use social media to describe how their day went, as well as share photos when possible. That said, we are working hard to secure story placement with network TV, national newspapers, and NPR in order to bring increased national attention to the event.
Email us at
or Contact Us here, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Just bear with us; we’re a non-profit with minimal staff. We just ask that you read up on World Book Night U.S. here first!