As (some) people may know, 5 March is World Book Night. On this night, 1 million copies of 25 books will be given away to (one hopes) new and potential readers, leading them on (the theory is) to a lifetime of new reading habits.
Possibly. Or possibly not. It seems to me like a lot of trees for a ‘maybe’. And it seems to many that giving away a million books when many bookstores (and authors — don’t foget the authors!) are struggling to survive in an industry where success is only a few thousands, or even hundreds, away from failure, is a gamble too far.
So the suggestion of children’s writer Nicola Morgan seems to me to be a brilliant halfway house. Not wanting to rain on World Book Day’s certainly well-meaning parade, she suggests:
‘One day between now and next Saturday (5 March), let’s each of us buy a book, preferably from an actual bookshop, or direct from a publisher. Any book…
‘Write inside it: “Given in the spirit of World Book Night, March 5th 2011 and bought from [insert name of shop] – please enjoy and tell people about it.” And give it to someone. Anyone. A friend or stranger, a library or school or doctor’s surgery or anything. Then go home, and enjoy whatever you’re reading yourself.’
A completely wonderful idea: I’m in!