World Book Night is a “catalyst for change”, with many recipients of books “motivated to change their reading habits by their interactions with volunteers”, according to research commissioned by The Reading Agency, which runs the event.
The annual event sees individuals and institutions hand out books to people who do not usually read for pleasure. This year 250,000 books of 20 specially printed World Book Night titles were given out.
The independent impact evaluated commissioned by The Reading Agency found that 80% of 2015 recipients who said they previously never read or read less than once a month said that they have read more since World Book Night, and 85% of infrequent readers have talked to others about books more since taking part.
The research was conducted by Free Thought Research from surveys and interviews with almost 5,000 book recipients and volunteers who gave out the books. It also found that 47% of infrequent readers have already bought more books since World Book Night, and 32% have borrowed more from the library.
Almost three quarters of volunteers, 73%, said they have talked more about books since taking part in World Book Night, and 83% said they plan to return to the library or bookshop from which they collected their books to buy or borrow books in the future.
This report is the first evaluation of World Book Night to focus specifically on infrequent or lapsed readers.
Sue Wilkinson, chief executive of The Reading Agency, said: “This research shows just how effective World Book Night is in inspiring people who might not normally think about opening a book to get back into reading. We always believed that this was the case and now we have the firm evidence to demonstrate the difference our committed and energetic volunteers and partners are making. This report really does show the change that comes from being given a book.”
The full report will be published before the end of 2015.
Submissions for World Book Night 2016 are now open, and publishers are particularly invited to submit texts by or relating to Shakespeare in the 400th anniversary year of his death. The deadline for submissions is Friday 28th August.