Publishers are to help distribute books in celebration of World Book Night tomorrow (Saturday 23rd April), which also marks UNESCO International Day of the book, Shakespeare’s birthday and the 400th anniversary of his death.
In a new initiative for 2016, publishers will be giving out copies of their own stock today (22nd April) within their neighbourhoods, alongside the 2,000 institutions taking part in the World Book Night mass giveaway.
Penguin Random House will donate a copy of Ali Smith’s Public Library and Other Stories to every library in the UK.
Alongside this, PRH volunteers will be working with creative writing charity Ministry of Stories to give away 250 mixed adult titles to the local community in Hackney.
Pan Macmillian staff will hand out books on their way home or over the weekend and will also volunteer around their offices in King’s Cross to give books to passers-by and local businesses. The publisher will also donate books to its current nominated charity, the Trussell Trust, who run the local food bank on Pentonville Road.
Through its offices in London and Edinburgh, Canongate will be giving away its favourite 'Canongate Canons' including The Gift by Lewis Hyde, the book that inspired Jamie Byng, c.e.o. of Canongate, to set up World Book Night in 2011.
"To give a book is to start a conversation, to open a door, to build a bridge and it is a beautiful and generous way to connect with another person”, Byng said. “We are all thrilled at Canongate at this latest development of World Book Night and will be one of many publishers celebrating books, authors and reading in this way. What's not to love?"
Faber, HarperCollins and Hachette will also be participating, adding to the support already given to World Book Night every year by publishers who produce thousands of copies of the select World Book Night titles for the mass giveaway nationwide.
2016’s list of titles includes Holly Bourne’s Am I Normal Yet? (Usborne), Love Poems by Carol Ann Duffy (Pan Macmillan), Matt Haig’s Reasons To Stay Alive (Canongate), The Rotters’ Club by Jonathan Coe (Penguin), Treachery by SJ Parris (HarperCollins) and Ann Cleeves’ Too Good To Be True (Quick Read). The list has previously been criticised for the lack of ethnic diversity among the chosen authors.
Since the inaugural World Book Night 56,000 volunteers have given books away to over 2.25 million people.
An impact report conducted to measure the impact on recipients of the books has revealed that 80% of recipients who said they previously never read or read less than once a month said that they have read more since World Book Night. Meanwhile 85% of infrequent readers have talked to others about books more since taking part and 47% of this group report that they have already bought more books since World Book Night, with 32% have borrowed more from the library, The Reading Agency said.
World Book Night's flagship event at the British Library will be headlined by authors including Matt Haig, Dreda Say Mitchell, Holly Bourne and Sathnam Sanghera.