World Book Night a chance to capture non-readers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 13, 2014

On April 23 — William Shakespeare’s birthday — 25,000 volunteers from across the globe will give away a half a million free books. More than 30 volunteers in Rowan County will take to the streets to spread the joy of reading.
World Book Night U.S. (WBN) is an ambitious campaign to give thousands of free, specially printed paperbacks to light or non-readers. Volunteer book givers help promote reading by going into our communities and handing out free copies to those without means or access to a printed book.
With the organizational support of local bookstores and libraries, they’ll be sharing them in locations such as hospitals, mass transit, nursing homes, food pantries, underfunded schools and more. This is not a random giveaway, but a person-to-person, carefully planned outreach.
World Book Night takes place on April 23, Shakespeare’s birthday, and is in its third year in the U.S., after the UK launch in 2011. World Book Night U.S.’s reach includes all 50 states, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and overseas military bases.
The WBN picks are by a wide array of award-winning and bestselling adult and young adult authors, as well as classics, books in Spanish and books in large print. The assortment of WBN titles is based on diversity in subject matter, age level, gender, ethnicity and geography. The books were chosen in a vote by librarians, booksellers and last year’s givers.
Bestselling author Scott Turow said: “I can’t imagine any greater compliment to a book — or an author — than to know his work has been selected to welcome people to the pleasures of reading.”
World Book Night is making a short, free original e-book available to everyone at their website on April 23. More information, including frequently-asked questions and links to social media — including giver experiences and photographs — at
Volunteers applied online to be givers by stating where they intend to seek out book recipients, and noting which of the special WBN Book Picks they’d like to hand out. The volunteer givers come from all walks of life: teachers, book club members, social workers, first responders, local businesspeople, librarians, booksellers, students, parents and more.
It is too late to volunteer to be a giver this year, but anyone can sign up for the WBN e-newsletter in order to be notified when the giver application process begins anew in the fall for 2015.