World Book Night – The Night

We looked forward to giving out our copies of ‘Northern Lights’ at an event we specifically chose to attend, we were told other people would there giving books out that night too. I thought it would be so much better to give them out at the event where people came out on a Friday night to be apart of World Book Night and to get hold of a book rather than of handing them out to passers-by who may only take the book because it was free.(I heard about this happening a lot).

I had visions of a great night handing out books, talking about them, meeting people etc etc
What it actually happened went like this, we arrived at the venue and the person in charge of the event took our books into another room while the ‘entertainment’ took place. We stood up for two hours watching a great gospel choir that sung briefly,followed by a bunch of miserable looking 12-year-old girls and their dance teacher(?) ‘dancing’ around, out of time to the music, repeating the same few moves throughout five difference songs. Their teacher seemed to crave the attention and completely overshadowed the girls the whole time. They were a professional dance club but if it were my child I’d have asked for the membership fees back.

After that was final over the audience was bored to tears listening to two local quiz teams answering questions about Dr Who and children’s TV shows.

Finally,as an after thought the book giving was announced. People soon woke up and proceeded to crowd into a small room where all the books were laid out. We were kind of pushed to one side as the staff took over, even though we were supposed to physically hand the books out to whom we chose. There was about 48 copies of 15 different titles and only one other ‘giver’ stayed, the others dumped their books and went home. This really annoyed me, there were hundreds of people who applied to be givers and were turned down and these people couldn’t even be bothered to do it.

The whole point of World Book Night was for people to give others a book they might not normally read/buy or people who don’t read at all and for them then to pass them on, encouraging someone else to read them. Instead, much to the annoyance of the woman in charge(she told people they could only take one book each, i thought this was unfair since there was about 600 books and about 150 people who would like to read more than one of the titles) people just helped themselves because the books were free. Their children mostly under 12 were allowed to take what they wanted and neither the staff nor their parents stopped them. It was such a waste of books, apart from our title none of the others were suitable for children and I imagine they will end up in a cupboard or thrown away.

Loads of books were abandoned even with people loaded them into their bags but I’m glad we managed to rescue some of ours and kept some back. Some of ours are being sent to local care homes in hope they will brighten someone’s day, some have been given out in the break room of a local hospital and the rest i think will find homes as we go….

I’d be interested in hearing about anybody else that had a disappointing experience with such a great event.


World Book night 2011

I came across World Book Night on The Book People’s website just after Christmas. Luckily the deadline for applicants had been extended so I….well my fiance applied on our behalf.

For those who haven’t heard of it, World Book Night follows a few days after World Book Day, that’s usually run in schools. The kids are given vouchers and/or a free book to encourage reading. When I was at school it was just kicking off and I definitely looked forward to getting a free book since I didn’t get enough pocket-money to be able to walk into Waterstones to purchase a book. Since, it’s really bugged me how a lot of kids no longer use the vouchers or bother collecting the books, I’d love a free book! Finally, there’s something similar….better even, for kids, adults, for everyone.

On 5th March one million books will be given away for free across the UK and Ireland. 20,000 applicants were selected to be the ‘givers’ and will distribute their chosen book. Each applicant was asked to select a title from a list of 25 books that they’d already read and wanted to share with others.

I think it’s a great idea, though I’ve read a lot of comments from annoyed booksellers that don’t agree.
I really wanted to get involved but shamefully I’d not read a single book on the list. My fiance had read and enjoyed Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. So we picked that and luckily have been chosen as givers ourselves. I’m sure it’s a great book, I’ve been told a bit about it but I’m kicking myself because I’ve since come across two other books that I’d like to read that happen to be on the list.

Anyway, the aim is to encourage people who are ‘reluctant readers’, people with less access to books or just someone you think is deserving and would appreciate it.

I was on Facebook the other day reading through the comments and people have some really good ideas of how they will distribute their books. Some people will be taking theirs into hospitals, handing them out to fed up commuters on the London Underground,some are having parties or carefully handpicked students/people who would really appreciate a book. Some made their selection to increase awareness of related things such as Autism with the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. I think it’s an amazing idea and wish I’d known more about some of the other books to have been able to do similar.

There’s a lot of annoyed people who weren’t picked to be givers.It’s disapointing that some of them had really good ideas and specific plans for the books. Others just thought they deserved to do it more than the next person. It’s about the books and who gets them, not the person giving them, people should keep that in mind.

We’re hoping to give half our books out at my fiance’s work since there are people working there from all walks of life and also (if they let us) join an event happening a few towns away where they are already giving out books. There are events up and down the country to draw more attention to the whole night, unfortunately not near us. It’s worth checking out your local one or attending the celebrations in Trafalgar Square on 4th/5th March. It’s gunna be a good one….!/worldbooknight?v=info