Today The Reading Agency is not only announcing new plans for World Book Night, but also a brilliant list of titles donated by publishers for gifting in 2017. The books have been selected with the needs of target audiences in mind. They will be given out entirely by partner organisations which have a strong track record of reaching people who struggle with reading or who don’t read regularly, including care homes, youth centres, colleges, prisons, public libraries, mental health groups and other charities.
World Book Night’s operational model has been under review this year. We have been consulting with our partners and analysing the feedback we have had from participants, authors and the general public - including the justifiable criticisms of last year’s list and its lack of ethnic diversity. We are delighted to have a really diverse list of authors taking part this year, which was one of the goals of our review.
The fantastic response from our publisher partners has helped us to form what we think is an incredibly strong offering of books. This shows that this more flexible model, which is cheaper, simpler and more targeted in its distribution channels, is garnering positive results already.
It was very important to us to establish a way of working that builds on the success of World Book Night so far. To achieve our ambition of inspiring more people to read more we need a diverse list and a quality list; we need the people that we are working with to feel reflected in the books they receive. We think we have achieved this in 2017. We are excited about the new model and looking forward to working with all our partners and supporters to help us distribute excellent books that reflect the needs, tastes and interests of the diverse audiences we want to reach.
Sue Wilkinson is chief executive of The Reading Agency.