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What's the point of World Book Day?

20 September 2004

World Book Day 2004 was a British book promotion with global ambitions, which perhaps this year, for the first time, started to be realised. The PR agency Colman Getty generated £1.8m ($3.2) worth of press coverage. Awareness statistics show high public awareness of the day, with 89% of children and 44% of adults showing awareness. Since the day was still largely focused on children, this difference is not surprising, but secondary schools were involved for the first time, with 70% of them actively participating.

Booksellers benefited from new customers, as children came in to spend their £1 book tokens, sales from which amounted to 704,106 copies sold. Excluding this book, the impact of WBD on the book trade was £3m ($5.33m). 98% of library authorities took part in World Book Day 2004, supporting it with 823 live events.

The online festival, in its second year, was launched with a JK Rowling webchat and many other well-known authors lent their support, including Jacqueline Wilson, Nick Hornby, Minette Walters and Benjamin Zephaniah. On World Book Day itself the Online Festival had 1.4 million hits from 78 different countries; by the end of March this amounted to 3.3 million hits from 100 countries. This was the first truly international World Book Day, a real global celebration of the book. It was an impressive indication of what can be done on the web and how much World Book Day might achieve in the future.

World Book Day 2005 will be on 3rd March and details will be put on the website,