STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald
Some people won’t read a book if you put it under their nose and open it up. Then again, they might.
It’s that glimmer of hope that inspired the creation of World Book Night, a global event that will take place April 23 at bookstores, libraries and community gathering places. Here in Durango, it’s happening at Maria’s Bookshop.
“It’s a way to put books in the hands of people who might not otherwise get them,” said Libby Cowles, community relations manager at Maria’s.
Cowles and several staffers brought the idea back to Durango earlier this month after attending the American Booksellers Association Winter Institute in New Orleans.
World Book Night started two years ago in the United Kingdom and will make its U.S. debut this year. The organizing committee selects a list of 30 book titles to be donated in lots of 20 to groups or individuals.
For example, a local Durango volunteer “book-giver” would select a title, such as Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and in his or her application would specify to whom 20 copies of the book would be donated: It could be a local organization such as Volunteers of America or the Family Center of Durango or a group of selected individuals. The book-giving applicant will be asked to explain why he or she wants to donate to an individual or organization.
Cowles said the event isn’t intended solely to put books in the hands of those who can’t afford them. It’s also a chance to persuade someone to read a book that might be out of their comfort zone of familiarity.
“It’s about people who love to read sharing that love with someone else,” Cowles said.
There is no cost involved for book-givers or receivers: World Book Night already has garnered sponsorship from some of the biggest names in publishing, including HarperCollins, Random House and Simon & Schuster, as well as many large retailers.
Special editions of the 30 titles will be printed exclusively for World Book Night. Boxes of books will be shipped to Maria’s, which will host a kickoff event April 16, a week before the books are to be distributed.
The deadline to apply as a book-giver is Wednesday.