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World Book Day plans

7 February 2005

World Book Day was originally designed by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading. Last year over 30 countries took part and it is hoped to extend the range of the scheme this year in view of the huge discrepancies in publishing activity between different countries.

To illustrate this, 21 titles were published in 1994 in Gambia compared to 3,108 in Egypt; 21,574 in Brazil as against 11 in Ecuador; 100,951 in China versus 11,460 in India. Britain published over 125,000 new books and new editions.

Celebrated internationally this year on 23 April, the UK World Book Day will be on 3 March in order to keep the promotion in school term time to reach children most effectively.

A new scheme entitled Spread the Word

London organisation running creative writing workshops for writers at all stages, with a focus on new writing and live literature, and encouraging innovation and experimentation.

will harness the power of personal endorsement, providing millions of postcards to encourage people to recommend books they have enjoyed to others. World Book Day will also include the usual pre-school and secondary school programmes, providing a £1 book token for each schoolchild which can be redeemed for one of the six specially published children’s books. This scheme has previously worked well in encouraging children to visit bookshops and their parents to fund the buying of more books.

Next year’s UK World Book Day will focus on the vital topic of adult literacy. As well as the usual children’s scheme, the organisers are planning a programme of publishing especially for adult readers. Specially commissioned from high-profile authors such as Ruth Rendell and Nick Hornby, these books will be popular in their appeal and will target new and reluctant readers.

As Gail Rebuck, ceo of Random House UKPenguin Random House have more than 50 creative and autonomous imprints, publishing the very best books for all audiences, covering fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, autobiographies and much more. Click for Random House UK Publishers References listing and chair of World Book Day, says: 'Poor literacy remains the single greatest barrier to getting on in life. Reading is not just about enjoyment; it is a necessity, the basic tool of education. To be unable to read a medicine bottle, fill our a tax form, get the best deal on insurance or buy the cheapest holiday is to go through life permanently at a disadvantage…

‘Current statistics show that there are over five million adults in the UK who have limited literacy skills. They are effectively excluded from the pleasures that reading can bring - whether from a novel, a cookery book or a travel guide. It's these people the publishers and bookseller supporters of World Book Day are turning to in 2006.'

World Book Day UK

International World Book Day