April 2014 | Nate Pedersen

World Book Night 2014

Two years ago, I blogged about the start of World Book Night, now an annual tradition on Shakespeare's Birthday (aka April 23 or "yesterday") wherein volunteer book givers around the world offer free books to other people. It's become a spectacular success.  Check out this zip code map of the location of American book givers for the 2014 rendition:

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The entire country was blanketed with book givers.

So here's how this works: a panel of librarians and booksellers get together each year and decide on 30-35 titles across a variety of reading levels and interests to issue for free for World Book Night.  The authors waive their royalties and the publishers arrange for specially printed editions.  Then folks apply to become "book givers," filling out applications that are evaluated based on their potential to reach "light and non-readers."  Successful applicants pick up 20 copies of their selected book at a community book drop (typically the local public library or bookshop). Then World Book Night rolls around and the book givers flood the streets evangelizing their books.

Now I'm curious if any of our readers participated in last night's event.  If so, please share your experiences in the comment section below.  If you were a book giver, let us know if it was fun, it people were receptive to your gift, and what the experience was like.  If you were a book receiver, tell us about getting your free book.

And on the collecting front, I'm curious about these "specially printed editions" produced by publishers. That seems like a potentially interesting book collection to me.  Is anyone putting together a World Book Night book collection?