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World Book Night 2012

April 27, 2012

World Book Night 2012 was the first time the US has participated in this fantastic event.  It was quite an undertaking with 25,000 people giving away half a million books.  I was privileged to be a giver and was thrilled when I got my first choice, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  I thought the parking lot of one of our local grocery stores would be the perfect place to pass out books and approached the manager a few weeks ago to be sure it would be okay.   She had me fill out some paperwork and told me I’d hear back from them, but I didn’t hear a word.  I felt like a “no” would have been better than not hearing anything.  Oh well, I moved on to plan B.

Carl and I set out for a local shopping center and the reception there was fine, but there just wasn’t enough traffic and it would have taken hours to pass out twenty books.  I packed up and we headed to the parking lot of our local Target.  It was perfect – I passed out the remaining books in a half hour.

Almost everyone I approached was willing to talk to me and only a few people turned me down once I spoke to them.  Most people were skeptical at first and many of them thought I was trying to give them a religious tract because of the title of the book.  When I told them what the book is about and that it’s one of my favorites, they warmed up for the most part and seemed thrilled to be getting something for free.  Two people actually told me they’ve read the book. As you can see, when I approached one person, others stopped to listen, hoping to get a book as well.

There was only one negative aspect of the evening for me – something happened that I was totally unprepared for.  One man I approached told me he wouldn’t take a book because he can’t read.  I told him it’s not to late to learn, but I had no information to give him.  When I do this next year, I will be prepared with the phone number of our local literacy association.

Did you participate this year?  If not, I urge you to do so next year!

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49 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2012 4:24 am

    Aw that is so sad about the man. I am so glad America gave out books too this year. I love World Book Night. I gave out I Capture The Castle and I have one to give away internationally to celebrate the day.

  2. sandynawrot permalink
    April 27, 2012 6:10 am

    This event totally passed me by this time, but I know Heather did it. That is so sad that the one man couldn’t read. Send him to Orlando!!!

  3. April 27, 2012 6:42 am

    This sounds like it was a rewarding experience. So sad to hear about that poor man’s respose:( I LOVED The Poisonwood Bible.

  4. April 27, 2012 7:28 am

    Kathy this is a great post! I love the pictures! The story about the man is sad, I would have been unprepared as well on how to respond.
    Would you believe I have never read The Poisonwood BIble?

  5. Beth Hoffman permalink
    April 27, 2012 7:53 am

    I so enjoyed your post this morning, Kathy! I also got a little teary when I read: “One man I approached told me he wouldn’t take a book because he can’t read.”

  6. April 27, 2012 8:15 am

    Great choice! This is one of my favorite books :)

    I Didn’t know anything about world book night, until a few days before the event. I hope to participate next year.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  7. April 27, 2012 8:48 am

    I didn’t have time to participate this year, but I plan to participate next year, and I think it would be a good idea to pair up with the literacy organization to hand out the books to their “students” if they have any…I might try to do that.

  8. April 27, 2012 9:01 am

    I love reading the WBN posts and about the response from people. Great idea to have a way to connect people who can’t read with a literacy resource. In my area our public library has a program.

  9. April 27, 2012 9:03 am

    How amazing that one man confessed he couldn’t read! That’s powerful. I also passed out books (3 in fact) and had a really great time seeing the light in the students’ eyes when I told them the books were free. I definitely want to do it again next year!

  10. April 27, 2012 9:03 am

    OMG, re the man who couldn’t read! But I love the “action” pictures of you!

  11. April 27, 2012 9:13 am

    What a wonderful experience, thank you for sharing it with photos. It’s sad that that one gentleman couldn’t read, I hope he learns to at somepoint in his life. I love the book you gave out, too!

  12. April 27, 2012 9:59 am

    I had one really weird experience too. A table full of older women playing scrabble gave me a hard time. I asked one if she wanted to recieve a free book, and she said: “Is it about Jesus?” I said no, and she said “Well then I don’t want it.” I had a lot of wonderful responses, but that one just made me really irritated. The story about the man who can’t read just broke my heart.

  13. April 27, 2012 11:21 am

    I loved reading this but that was so sad. I still have to read The Poisonwood Bible. I found a cheap copy recently but haven’t started it yet!

  14. April 27, 2012 11:30 am

    Wow. What an amazing experience. I love your idea of having the information for a literacy program with you next year.

  15. April 27, 2012 12:03 pm

    You are not the first to mention the not being able to read thing. I have read four recaps from other bloggers so far that mentioned the same thing. Amazing. How do these folks get by?

    I can’t believe I didn’t sign up to do this. I work at a university too. Would have been a great place to hand out books.

  16. April 27, 2012 12:08 pm

    Loved this post and reading about your WBN! Sounds like a great night! I did feel badly for the man who never learned to read – that was sad. I do think its great of you to think ahead for next year and how you plan on having info about where to go if you want to learn to read ;) Thanks for sharing!!

  17. April 27, 2012 1:03 pm

    Kathy, it sounds like you had a great time (great book!), except for the one instance (hard to believe illiteracy still exists, though I know it does). Next year you’ll be prepared for that possibility. I’ll bet some of the people recognized you as “BermudaOnion the book blogger”. :)

  18. melaniesmusingsnet permalink
    April 27, 2012 2:10 pm

    Wow, this sounds like quite the event. It doesn’t seem like you were nervous- I would have been shaking in my shoes!

  19. April 27, 2012 2:55 pm

    What an amazing event!! But how sad about that one man. I hope he finds some help so he can enjoy the thrills of reading.

  20. April 27, 2012 3:11 pm

    I didn’t run into anyone who couldn’t read, but that’s a great idea to have information with you, just in case.

    I wish I had taken a picture or two.

  21. April 27, 2012 3:12 pm

    You go, Kathy – proud of you! :)

  22. bookingmama permalink
    April 27, 2012 3:29 pm

    OMG! How touching and sad but I love how you’ll bring the number with you next year. What a wonderful event!

  23. April 27, 2012 3:43 pm

    I participated in the WBN event this year and had a positive experience all the way around. I have been actively looking for other reactions and experiences and I am glad that I came across your experience. Next year I will also find some information about literacy programs so I am prepared. Thank you for sharing!

  24. escapingjourney permalink
    April 27, 2012 3:45 pm

    So sad to hear that man couldn’t read. Maybe he’ll look into it now though! How wonderful that you were able to participate and give away one of your favorite books.

  25. lab1990 permalink
    April 27, 2012 4:21 pm

    That’s awful about the poor man, but I’m glad you had a good time. I passed out books as well. I need to do a write up about it. I used my college campus, which was cool, but it would have been nice to have someone else with me intead of having to appraoch everyone alone. LOL

  26. April 27, 2012 6:33 pm

    That is just so sad about that man! I wouldn’t have thought to carry information about helpf for literacy either, but that’s a great idea. I hope to participate in World Book Night next year.

  27. April 27, 2012 8:41 pm

    I didn’t…but I should have…you did an awesome thing!!!

  28. April 27, 2012 9:47 pm

    I wanted to do it this year, but I didn’t get signed up in time. I’m so in for next year though.

  29. April 27, 2012 10:46 pm

    People are so suspicious of people handing out things! I guess non-readers wouldn’t have heard about World Book Night so they would have been looking for the hidden strings attached to the free gift. (I haven’t read The Poisonwood Bible. I balked at The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher for a long time and then really liked it when I finally read it. Will probably be the same with The Poisonwood Bible when I finally pick it up!)

  30. April 27, 2012 11:24 pm

    Thank you for better preparing us all for next year! I will definitely make sure to have lieracy info. Thanks for including some action shots :) I was hoping to take some but with Gage in tow I was lucky to get them all passed out!

  31. April 27, 2012 11:25 pm

    huh. you know I meant literacy, right? Sheeesh!

  32. April 27, 2012 11:32 pm

    I just love this idea and I hope it really takes off. I would be worried that no one would want to take the book so I’m glad to hear that that was mostly not the case! Glad you called out the need for literacy information – that is great for the organizers to be mindful of going forward as well. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  33. April 28, 2012 2:07 am

    I had a good experience passing out my books too although I did run into a few people that at first didn’t believe the book was free.

  34. butter17 permalink
    April 28, 2012 7:21 am

    I did not participate this year, but I am planning to next year. So sad about the man who couldn’t read :(

  35. April 28, 2012 7:26 am

    It kind of surprises me that the man admitted he couldn’t read. I love your plan for next year. Maybe World Book Night will come up with something.

  36. April 28, 2012 7:51 am

    What an amazing experience – and I think it’s a good suggestion for everyone who participates to have the tel # of literacy center on hand – and maybe the address of the local library.

  37. bethbookaholicmom permalink
    April 28, 2012 1:38 pm

    So sad about the man who couldn’t read! I can’t imagine what my life would be like without being able to read. I see people learning to read in our library on occasion. It sounds like World Book Night was a hit! I would love to participate next year.

  38. Staci@LifeintheThumb permalink
    April 28, 2012 5:22 pm

    Your last paragraph killed me. That does it. I’m signing up for the Adult Literacy program at our library. Great way to get those books into reader’s hands, Kathy!

  39. April 28, 2012 9:43 pm

    I really wish I had participated! I definitely will next year. Thanks for sharing your story! That’s really good advice for carrying information about a local literacy center. I never even thought of something like that happening.

  40. Beth F permalink
    April 30, 2012 5:38 am

    I would have been totally unprepared too. But great advice to have the informaiton with you.

  41. April 30, 2012 10:44 am

    It’s great that you participated in this Kathy. I feel so bad for the man who couldn’t read. I know our library has resources for those who can’t read but I’m not sure about where you are. It’s hard to believe that people still can’t read but it’s more common than we’d like to think.

  42. April 30, 2012 12:23 pm

    I’m so glad you’ve shared your experience here. I didn’t sign up this year because I get anxious approaching strangers but after reading about everyone’s night I have already signed up for next year. Great tip about literacy agent–I wouldn’t have thought about that. In my area I might also need information about English as a Second Language (ESL).

  43. April 30, 2012 6:10 pm

    What a wonderful event this is! I didn’t participate but I will next year. And that is a great idea to include the number to the literacy association too!

  44. April 30, 2012 6:31 pm

    How great that you took part, and thanks for sharing your experience with us. I loved The Poisonwood Bible, but I can see how people would be suspicious. I get handed so many religious tracts while waiting for the bus. I think it would be a great idea to have some information on hand for literacy programs; sounds like the perfect event for partnering with a literacy association.

  45. April 30, 2012 9:56 pm

    Kathy, I love the picture of you with these books. It’s interesting how people were skeptical at first. If someone offered me a free book, I’d take it and worry about what it was later. LOL! Those who did accept are in for a treat. I loved The Poisonwood Bible.

    I wish I’d been able to participate this year. I hope to next year.

  46. May 1, 2012 10:01 pm

    Wow, sounds like it went really well! that situation with that man would have thrown me off and saddened me too. That’s a great idea to have that info for next year!

  47. May 2, 2012 2:03 am

    I’m glad you had fun giving away your books – I can’t wait to do this again next year! I actually started telling people that I want to give them a free book, but it wasn’t a Bible, just because that seemed to be everyone’s first assumption. I had a few people turn me down because they were already big readers and had a big TBR pile, but other than that, the response was great.

  48. May 12, 2012 5:14 pm

    Australia hasn’t participated in World Book Night (yet). It seems a nice idea, I checked out the website a few times, but I never managed to work out who funds the books. Do you know? It is a shame about the illiterate man, but at least you will be prepared next year.

  49. boardinginmyforties permalink
    May 23, 2012 8:40 pm

    I have this on my bucket list to participate in. That’s great that you kept trying until you found a way to give out the books. It is heartbreaking to know that someone couldn’t read. It’s a good idea to have the literacy resources available. I will make a note of this for when I participate.

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