Fears for 'Spread the Word'

<p>The future of the adult component of World Book Day is under threat if the book trade does not support it, organisers have said.</p><p>The Spread the Word campaign has been a &quot;bit of a soft sell&quot; since it began in 2005, organisers admit, focusing as it does on adults recommending books to each other via postcards and email. One committee member said last week: &quot;As my father used to say, it&#39;s shit or bust.&quot;</p><p>The WBD committee is hoping to harness the power of social networking and reading groups to boost this year&#39;s programme. John Bond, Press Books m.d. who sits on the WBD executive committee, said Spread the Word needs to be promoted on its own, not as a bolt-on other WBD activities. He added: &quot;This year is a solid promotion that publishers and retailers should get behind. This is an excellent way to get adults to buy more books, and if we let it go, it would be a real opportunity wasted.&quot;</p><p>Next year&#39;s campaign will see the public voting on a longlist of 100 titles, which will be featured on the Spread the Word microsite. The longlist will be chosen by a WBD panel from submissions by publishers of fiction by living authors who have not won major awards. Ten shortlisted titles will form the focus of Spread the Word: Talk about Books reading groups which will be held in bookshops and libraries on or around WBD (6th March).<br /></p>