The idea of World Book Night was conceived by Jamie Byng, MD of Canongate, back in 2011, after discussing it a year before with those present at Book Industry Conference. It created another way for adults to read more and, since then, the holiday has become an international success.
However, because World Book Day existed for children, World Book Night became a day for adults to read more books. In order to coincide with UNESCO’s International Day of the Book, in 2012, the holiday moved from March to April. In 2012 and 2013, the holiday was celebrated in the United States. Over 50,000 people gave books to others on this day.
In late 2013, World Book Night then became part of the Reading Agency, an organization focused on promoting the benefits of reading books. Each year, books are given to people in hospitals, prisons, libraries, colleges, homeless shelters, and their communities.
World Book Night 2020 will be going digital, and the plans have been modified due to Covid-19. According to the official World Book Night website, people are encouraged to share in the pleasure of enjoying a book – in print, in or in audio. Those who want to partake in the celebration are invited to join in the Reading Hour, take time out to read alone or with others, and share a book with family, friends or colleagues, by giving recommendations, encouraging someone to join the library or gifting a book. Find out more about how the plans have been adapted by visiting the website.