The Reading Agency has announced a new "targeted approach" for World Book Night 2017 with giveaway titles including authors such as The Bookseller's contributing editor Cathy Rentzenbrink, Polari Prize-winner Paul McVeigh and colouring-in bestseller Millie Marotta.
The new plans, announced today (6th December), will see the national charity working more closely with care homes, youth centres, colleges, prisons, public libraries, mental health groups and other charities to match books with new readers on 23rd April 2017.
Its aim is to more specifically target adults with low literacy levels or who don’t read for pleasure, isolated and vulnerable older people, LGBTQ groups, men and women of all ages in UK prisons, parents and vulnerable pregnant women, people with mental health issues, and young people who don’t read for pleasure.
A newly created Goodreads community has been set up to encourage individuals to gift their own or newly bought books and the wider business community is being engaged to help extend the reach of World Book Night through an employee volunteering offer.
Books selected as part of the giveaway this year hail from publishers large and small and span a variety of genres, from crime and commercial fiction to classics, memoirs, graphic novels and even colouring-in. The selection totals 23 titles and counting so far, and is also more diverse than in previous years. Last year there was criticism from author Nikesh Shukla asking why World Book Night had "left off" black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) writers.
Give-away donations so far comprise: Rentzenbrink's bestselling memoir The Last Act of Love (Picador); modern classic Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Penguin); graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Vintage); McVeigh's The Good Son (Salt); Marotta's colouring-in sensation Animal Kingdom (Pavilion), as well as Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy (Vintage); and novels by Lucy Diamond and Ann Cleeves, The Beach Café and Raven Black (both Pan Macmillan).
The other books are Bradford-based thriller Streets of Darkness by A A Dhand (Transworld) and the anonymously authored The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen Aged 83 1/4 (Michael Joseph), The Bones of Grace by Tahmima Anam (Canongate); Payback by Kimberley Chambers (Harper); A Very Distant Shore by Jenny Colgan (Orion); Faded Glory by David Essex (Head of Zeus); Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo (Penguin General); The Traitor (Carnivia Trilogy) by Jonathan Holt (Head of Zeus); False Nine, part of the Scott Manson series, by Philip Kerr (Head of Zeus); The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton); Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence (Hachette Children’s); One False Move by Dreda Say Mitchell (Hodder & Stoughton); Wonder by R J Palacio (Penguin Random House Children’s); Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley (Harlequin) and The Missing by C L Taylor (Avon).
Further titles from Simon & Schuster, Little Brown and Mills and Boon are to follow.
Special editions of the books will no longer be produced, removing a large cost to publishers and paving the way for smaller presses to participate. Publishers can use existing stock or print smaller print runs.
Sue Wilkinson, chief executive, The Reading Agency, said: “Our aim with World Book Night has always been to reach and develop new readers. This new approach, developed in consultation with our publisher, library and author partners, will make us better able to do so. Working with our community of enthusiastic readers as well as businesses, we’re excited about being able to get brilliant books to those who haven’t yet encountered them.”
To get involved, publishers should submit possible titles for inclusion by 13th January 2017 via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).