Be a Book Giver on World Book Night

This is the first post from the fine folks of the American Library Association, which recently launched a member interest group called Library Boing Boing. They will be posting now and again as LibraryLab.

On April 23, 2012, tens of thousands of people in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, and Germany will go out into their communities to spread the joy and love of reading by giving away free books. All you have to do to participate is register by midnight EST tonight.

The goal is to have 50,000 people give a book to a stranger or to people you might know but believe aren’t frequent readers. Go to a coffee shop, a hospital, a park, a church, a community center, an after-work party, a local school, or even just give them away on your daily train ride. WBN will give you 20 specially-produced, not-for-resale World Book Night editions to randomly give away. There are 30 titles to choose from for all types of readers. Basically, if you love any of the books included in the program, you can get free copies to share with others.

The list includes:

• The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
• I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
• Kindred by Octavia Butler
• The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
• Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
• The Stand by Stephen King
• The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
• Just Kids by Patti Smith

View the full list of books available. Libraries and bookstores can also still sign up to be a pick-up point for the books (just submit your application by midnight EST on Monday, February 6th).

Started by Carl Lennertz in 2011, World Book Night is an annual celebration designed to spread a love of reading and books by putting a book into another person’s hand and saying ‘this one’s amazing, you have to read it’.

— Posted by Janie Hermann of Princeton, NJ, Public Library.


  1. Pittsburgh People! Local indie bookstore the Penguin Bookshop might be your pick up point for your box for 20 books. We are so excited to be a part of this awesome nationwide event.

  2. Something very similar has been done before at least in the UK but with no prescribed list of titles. The idea was simply when you had finished a book you had enjoyed to leave it in a public place for someone else to pick up (with a brief explanatory note?), I believe.

  3. You’ll discover an even more interesting story behind this tradition as it coincides with St George’s Day and celebrations in Catalonia in which women are given a rose and give a book to men- think Valentine’s Day for the bookish nerd/sexy librarian fetish. Thanks to a shrewd bookseller who also wanted to commemorate St George’s with the anniversary of Cervantes and Shakespear death on the same day it became a tradition of sorts!

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