“World” Book Day

When I got up this morning I saw several tweets celebrating World Book Day. I was confused at first, since I thought World Book Day was in April, but soon I recalled that the UK and Ireland have their own “World” Book Day. I had noticed this before but never looked into it. As it turns out, today’s World Book Day is an initiative of the British publishing and bookselling industry, and doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day. The way it works is that for every child under 18 you can buy a Β£1 token and redeem it for one of 8 specially chosen books at participating bookstores. The reason they changed the date is so as not to conflict with school or religious holidays. You would think holidays would be the perfect time to get people reading, but perhaps they are not very good shopping days. It all sounds to me like an industry promotion, rather than a celebration of literacy and literature. The event is run by a registered charity, which also makes contributions to Book Aid International, but the funding comes mainly from publishers and booksellers.

I became even more skeptical when I saw that the Wikipedia page on World Book and Copyright Day had been edited to change the date to March 1st and featured the UK World Book Day logo and not the official UN poster. So I fixed it. I will have to keep an eye on that page to see if it gets altered again. The page already goes into great detail on the UK/Ireland “World Book Day” so they hardly need more promotion for their promotion.

After all that I must confess that I failed to recognize World Book and Copyright Day last year. It’s too bad because last year’s poster is quite interesting in that it features a laptop or netbook along with books, an obvious reference to the recent proliferation of ebooks. I wonder thatΒ  they did not depict an ereader or mobile device, but it may be that in most of the world, most ebooks are read on a computer, perhaps at a library or school. In any case, it is a recognition that ebooks are a now significant element of global literary culture.

UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day 2011

So mark April 23 on your calendars as the real World Book Day, and don’t forget World Poetry Day on March 21!


4 comments on ““World” Book Day

  1. Stefanie says:

    Thanks for the clarification because I was getting confused by all the emails from publishers about World Book Day and I use you as my World Book Day reminder and you hadn’t said anything so I’ve been thinking things just weren’t right πŸ™‚

    • Sylvia says:

      Yes, it is rather confusing. They should have called it “UK Book Day” or perhaps “Buy One of Our Eight Books Day”… πŸ˜‰

  2. Fay says:

    Sylvia, the blog is looking good at your new location. I, too, have been de-googling. Deleted my old book blog at Blogger. Deleting everything from my gmail reader and switching those feeds to Bloglines was tedious but worth doing. Set up a hotmail account (for an address to put on my blog) to avoid most gmail. Changed newsletters to other mail accounts in order to abandon gmail. Search toolbar is now Bing, not Google. You cannot avoid G entirely, but the new privacy policy is nonsense. Well, anyway, congratulations on making your move and best wishes for a rewarding experience at your new blog home.

    • Sylvia says:

      Hi Fay! Good for you for de-Googling. I am planning to get off Google as much as possible too. I did not know that Bloglines was still around. I thought it was going to be shut down but I see it is still going. That’s good because there really aren’t any other good feed readers out there besides Reader.

      Thanks for the well-wishes and happy blogging!

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