My First Year as a World Book Night Giver

World Book NightYesterday I participated in World Book Night for the first time! World Book Night is a movement to spread the love of reading to light and non-readers. Publishers donate special editions of popular books, and volunteers go out in their communities and give them away.

I chose to give away copies of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, a book I love. I picked up my box of 20 books from my local indie bookstore a few days ago and stuffed them with my blog bookmarks and a letter with info about WBN, a recommendation for further reading, and my email address. Yesterday, I made a big “FREE BOOKS / WORLD BOOK NIGHT” sign and headed into downtown Buffalo. I basically just stood on the sidewalk in an area that gets plenty of foot traffic from a huge variety of people and said, “Hi, would you like a free book?” to everyone who walked by.

I got off to a little bit of a rough start. The first person I asked wanted to know more, and I told him all about the book, which is a memoir by a woman who hit bottom in her 20s and decided to hike 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail by herself, hoping to enjoy the scenery and figure her life out. I gave my spiel, and the guy said, “I’d read it if it was about a guy hiking.” That got my feminist blood boiling a little bit, but the rest of my time giving was smooth sailing! Most people were really excited to be getting a free book, and they seemed interested in the story. I did have to work to convince a few people that they really were free, though! “No, no donation!”

It was a lot of fun to share a book I love with 20 strangers, and I’m so glad I participated in World Book Night this year!

To find out about some other bloggers who participated in World Book Night, head on over to 52 Books or Bust; Tanya wrote a great post featuring blogger givers and the books they gave away!

Has anyone else participated in World Book Night? If you have, feel free to share your story in the comments!


34 thoughts on “My First Year as a World Book Night Giver

  1. Oooo, I might have had it out for that guy, too! I gave a copy to a guy walking his kid in a stroller and he was SO into it, it made me so excited. Then there was this group of older gentlemen that is always meeting up at the park I go to and when they turned the book over, one of them said “OH! Oprah’s Book Club!” and I could still hear them talking about the book when I left, it was the cutest. I love the idea of using the sign – glad to hear it ended up turning out good for you!

    • That’s awesome!

      This was my favorite give: I was on Main Street, which is currently just for pedestrians and the above-ground section of the metro rail, which is undergoing construction right now, so there are construction/transit vans going back and forth. A man in one of the transportation authority vans pulled up, rolled down his window, and asked about the books!

  2. Ok, it’s official – I want to do this next year. How did I chicken out on this??
    Thanks for sharing your experience – I was really curious!

    • Lady, if I can do it, you can do it! I’m super shy and introverted and was really nervous about striking up conversations with people I don’t know, but it was actually pretty easy once I got rolling. And sharing books felt really good! Consider it!

    • He was actually a pretty nice guy, and it’s pretty common for men to be less interested in books written from a woman’s perspective, but it irked me!

    • Yes! I think I mostly gave it to women, but there were quite a few men who took books and seemed excited about it. I was turned down, both by people who just said a polite “no thanks” when I asked if they would like a book, and others who listened to my spiel but didn’t want to read it. Everyone was very nice, though πŸ™‚

  3. Is there any way to get this started in Canada? Because I’m completely the kind of person who would stand on a corner and foist free books on strangers, especially if it was a book I loved. Some would say I’m pushy, I prefer gregarious and excitable πŸ™‚ -Tania

    • You could always reach out to them and find out if they have plans to expand to Canada. And if they don’t, expressing an interest might make them consider it!

    • The beach sounds like a perfect place to give out books! Everyone needs a beach read. My method worked well for me because there’s no way I could approach people, but I found it pretty easy to talk to people walking by.

      • I was actually thinking about you when I passed out books. It was still hard for me to go up to randoms, and I’m not a shy person! It made me hope you had a good solution so that you didn’t have to do that, since I know you’re more introverted. I’m glad you found a good way to do it!

  4. I saw on Twitter that you were a giver this year. My friends and I worked together to distribute 80 books during a “Pub Crawl.” Complete success. I love being a WBN giver.

    • That sounds awesome! I wish I had bookish friends around to do things like this with, but I’m actually kind of glad I did this on my own; I’m very quiet, and I know if someone else was there with me, I would have let him/her do all the talking! It was a good challenge for me, to have to talk to people I don’t know, and I was surprised by how much fun I had!

  5. Everyone who did this sounds like they had a lot of fun, so I think I’m going to be braver and apply next year πŸ™‚ That first guy though, man, what a jerk. If only we had the ability to make people read books… I think reading Wild would have been good for him!

    • You should! I was nervous about going out and talking to strangers because I’m very shy and introverted, but it turned out to not be scary it all! I was surprised how fun it actually was.

      I think he would have loved Wild! He told me he likes hiking and the mountains, but he thought reading the book would depress him because he wouldn’t be able to go hike those mountains. But you can’t force someone to read something.

  6. Pingback: A Novel Natter: Reflection on World Book Night | My Novel OpinionMy Novel Opinion

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