World Book Day has signed new partners for 2013, including online social world MiniMonos.com and Chessington World of Adventures, with supermarket Asda to stock the £1 World Book Day titles for the first time.
The children's Reading for Pleasure initiative, taking place on 7th March this year, is also teaming up with teen creative writing site Movellas.com to launch a free app for iOS and Android platforms on 25th February. It will feature new short stories by authors including Patrick Ness, as well as from selected teenage authors writing on the site.
Other digital initiatives include a month-long campaign with new partner Swapit, a goods trading site for young people, in order to reach children directly.
Meanwhile, specialist children's bookshops are gearing up for numerous events, both in schools and in store. Victoria Park Books manager Joanna de Guia said the actual day was "a climactic moment—the lead up and lead away from it are just as important".
However, she was among booksellers who cautioned over the challenge of securing enough £1 titles this year, with publishers more careful than previously about print run numbers. "The publishers really are publishing to order, so you have to tell your wholesaler how many books you need precisely; we sent out an email to schools in September, but of course . . . two or three haven’t replied, and will miss out," she said.
The new partners and activity are part of a drive to step up the initiative's profile, with director Kirsten Grant saying the aim was to "create a year-round resource" for children's reading. Grant reported that web traffic to the WBD site has increased 50% since the beginning of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. She said: "We absolutely are trying to make it a year-round resource, a home for children’s books. There are ideas that schools and parents, libraries and bookshops, and children, can find all year round."