This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person. Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people go out into their communities and give 250,000 free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers. That’s a lot of books. Ever curious, we wondered what goes on backstage, in the run up to the evening itself. Here, Rose Goddard, Project Manager, takes us behind the scenes.
by Rose Goddard
World Book Night is a huge annual celebration of reading and books, which takes place on April 23 each year and is now just two weeks away. The celebrations see thousands of passionate volunteers gifting books in their communities to those who don’t regularly read for pleasure or own books. For the past few months I, along with the crack team at The Reading Agency, the independent charity which now runs the programme, have been busy putting everything in place to make sure the event is as special and inspiring as ever.
Run since 2011 when it was started by Canongate MD Jamie Byng, World Book Night’s scale and heart really are enormous and it’s a real privilege to be involved. I took on the role of Project Manager in November last year, when planning for the 2014 event was already well underway, and it has been action stations since then with thousands of applications to read, books to print, partners to meet and events to organise. I seem to have become scarily proficient at Excel in the process and have more pastel-coloured spreadsheets than is probably reasonable.
This year we’ve printed 250,000 specially-produced World Book Night editions for our passionate devotees of reading to give away on April 23. When considering our list of 20 titles we’re looking to include books across a variety of genres, fiction and non-fiction, as well as books aimed at young adults, to appeal to the broadest possible range of people. Our expert editorial committee made up of Reading Agency staff, book industry professionals, librarians and previous givers consider a wide range of books during the selection process, which takes place in the summer before the next year’s World Book Night. We then set about making the books themselves. This wouldn’t be possible without the expertise, patience and time of the people on the ground in the publishing houses, as well as our brilliant printing partners, Clays and CPI. As well as the text, each book contains special World Book Night material, a bespoke cover design featuring the original jacket, and this year for the first time each book includes a different poem from one of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year award winners. It was a real thrill to see the books land on my desk a few weeks ago looking wonderful. We chose one of the primary brand colours of The Reading Agency, a particularly fetching shade of orange, for the spines.
The books are then packed into sets of 18, to be delivered to thousands of addresses around the UK by our wonderful and generous distribution partner, Yodel. Our Individual Givers will collect their books from one of 2500 participating libraries and bookshops, whose involvement is absolutely crucial to World Book Night. The whole event really does depend on the support of an incredibly engaged and sympathetic network of partners and generous supporters.
We’ve got a really exciting series of events planned to celebrate World Book Night this year, including two big National Flagship events at Library of Birmingham and the Southbank Centre in London, and planning them has been great fun. We’re currently working out the best way to transport two huge banners proudly displaying The Reading Agency and World Book Night logos to Brum. We’re also holding thirteen ‘mini-flagship’ library events spread across the UK, from Glasgow Mitchell Library to Manchester Central Library, The Hive in Worcester and the Verbal Arts Centre, Northern Ireland. There are also hundreds of other, smaller events happening nationwide (we’re hoping to capture as many as we can on our website) and it has been incredible to see the scale of the passionate, grassroots support for the programme.
Wish us luck and we hope you’ll be inspired to get involved! Of course, we’ll be doing it all again next year, too. We’re really hoping that World Book Night will continue to make a difference to the reading landscape, and that it will encourage more people than ever to become passionate lifelong readers and book givers.
To learn more about World Book Night, you can visit worldbooknight.org