World Book Night was launched yesterday evening (2nd December), a vision which sees 20,000 people being chosen to distribute 1 million free books to people they know, in a bid to get more people reading.
The list of books available to giveaway goes as follows:
Kate Atkinson – Case Histories (Black Swan)
Margaret Atwood – The Blind Assassin (Virago)
Alan Bennett – A Life Like Other People’s (Faber/Profile)
John Le Carré – The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (Penguin)
Lee Child – Killing Floor (Bantam)
Carol Ann Duffy – The World’s Wife (Picador)
Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Vintage)
Seamus Heaney – Selected Poems (Faber)
Marian Keyes – Rachel’s Holiday (Poolbeg/Penguin)
Mohsin Hamid – The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Penguin)
Ben Macintyre – Agent Zigzag (Bloomsbury)
Gabriel García Márquez – Love in the Time of Cholera (Penguin)
Yann Martel – Life of Pi (Canongate)
Alexander Masters – Stuart: A Life Backwards (Fourth Estate)
Rohinton Mistry – A Fine Balance (Faber)
David Mitchell – Cloud Atlas (Sceptre)
Toni Morrison – Beloved (Vintage)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Half of a Yellow Sun (Fourth Estate)
David Nicholls – One Day (Hodder)
Philip Pullman – Northern Lights (Scholastic)
Erich Maria Remarque – All Quiet on the Western Front (Vintage)
C J Sansom – Dissolution (Pan)
Nigel Slater – Toast (Fourth Estate)
Muriel Spark – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Penguin)
Sarah Waters – Fingersmith (Virago)
As you can see, it is quite a good selection of books. Its quite a good incentive to get more people reading books, and as it is backed by various publishers, it gives them a good marketing strategy for the future.
However, one could argue that those less charitable people who are chosen to distribute free books may decide to sell them and make themselves a profit. But of course, the books will still be read by anyone who gets hold of them (whether they buy them or get them free) because that’s the whole point of a book – to be read!
This whole experiment is basically like a larger-scale version of buying books and lending them to people within your group of friends, family and acquaintances, only the books are free to acquire, your friends keep the books AND get hold of some high quality reading material! It just seems like a great way to spread the word about a good book and ensure more people have to opportunity to experience reading such a book!
As Margaret Atwood is quoted in the above article: “World Book Night is truly an astonishing vision! It mirrors the way books really do move in the world – from one passionate reader to another. But this one night will be white water rafting, with books!”