World Book Night

We’re excited by the fact that today is ‘World Book Night’, a magical night wholly dedicated to books. Find out more on the article below written by Sarah Shaffi of ‘The Bookseller.’

More than 10,000 individuals and groups will be handing out copies of specially printed titles for today’s World Book Night.

And the Community Book Giving scheme, launched for the first time this year, has seen around 2,100 people sign up to give away their own choice of book.

This is the first year World Book Night has been run by The Reading Agency, with demand outstripping volunteer positions by thousands.

Altogether 10,500 individuals and institutions such as youth groups will hand out 250,000 copies of 20 specially printed World Book Night titles, aiming to reach the 35% of the population who do not read for pleasure.

Peter Barker of The Reading Agency said the number of givers was on track with what the organisation expected for the first year.

“It is a brilliant industry initiative,” he said. “It has been great working with all the industry partners and this is setting up a platform for 2015.”

Fiz Osborne, senior editor illustrated publishing, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, will be giving out copies of Roald Dahl’s Short Stories, one of the 20 special titles, in Hackney.

She said: “Getting people’s attention, sharing books with them, giving them something for nothing – it feels worthwhile, don’t you think. It could be the start of something special.”

Cathy Rentzenbrink, project director at Quick Reads, added: “There are Quick Reads books on the list this year, and a lot of those will be given away directly in institutions like prisons and hospitals. It is a good route for our books to end up in the hands of people that need them, and where books are scarce.”

This year’s list includes an emphasis on books for men, and for teenagers and young adults.

recent survey by The Reading Agency found that 63% of men do not read as much as they think they should, and nearly three-quarters would opt for the film or television version of a book.

Author David Nicholls said: “Television is a fine medium and I love cinema more than most. I listen to music all the time and have been known to glance at the web too, but for me nothing quite compares to that moment when you read some marks on the page and think ‘yes, I know exactly what you mean’.

“With technology tapping us on our shoulder, it has become harder and harder to find the time and concentration to sit alone with a book, and it’s not surprising that so many men have lost the habit of reading or never acquired it in the first place. But I passionately believe that nothing is quite as immersive, affecting or exciting as the experience of reading a wonderful book.”

Nicholls will be among the people taking part in a flagship World Book Night event tonight in London.

Alongside writers and well-known names including Caitlin Moran, Philip Pullman and Andrew Motion he will help celebrate “the enduring power of literary correspondence” at Letters Live, being held in association with The Reading Agency, Canongate and Southbank Centre.

As well as Letters Live in London, other events today include live readings by authors Ben Aaronovitch, Matt Haig, Jane Fallon and Adele Parks, whose books are on the World Book Night list, at the Library of Birmingham, as well as readings at libraries across the country.

World Book Night is now in its fourth year, and coincides with the UNESCO International Day of the Book.

A UNESCO study, in partnership with Worldreader and Nokia, has found that people in developing countries are increasingly using their mobile phones to read.

The survey found that on average, mobile readers in developing countries are primarily male (77%), but women read for longer periods of time, spending an average of 207 minutes per month reading on their mobile phones, compared to 33 minutes for men. One in three respondents said they read to children from their mobile. Of those questioned, 13% said their primary reason for reading on a mobile was because it was affordable, while 60% said the lack of content was the primary barrier to mobile reading.

The author of the report, Mark West from UNESCO, said: “A key conclusion from this study is that mobile devices can help people develop, sustain and enhance their literacy skills. This is important because literacy opens the door to life-changing opportunities and benefits.”

The survey questioned nearly 5,000 people across Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Zimbabwe.

Worldreader is a global not-for-profit organisation that aims to put a library of digital books in the hands of children and families across the world.

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