World Book Day

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World Book Day
UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day 2012 poster.png
UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day 2012 poster
Observed by All UN Member States
Date 23 April 2012
Frequency annual

World Book Day[1] or World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days) is a yearly event on 23 April, organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to promote reading, publishing and copyright. In the United Kingdom (UK), the day is recognised on the first Thursday in March. World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on 23 April 1995.

Date selection[edit]

The connection between 23 April and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Spain as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes, who died on this date.[citation needed]

In 1995 UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on 23 April, as the date is also the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare, the deaths of Miguel de Cervantes, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and Josep Pla, and the birth of Maurice Druon, Manuel Mejía Vallejo and Halldór Laxness.[citation needed]

Although 23 April is stated as the anniversary of the deaths of both Shakespeare and de Cervantes, this is not strictly correct. Cervantes died on 22 April and was buried on 23 April, according to the Gregorian calendar; however, at this time, the Julian calendar was still used in England, UK. While Shakespeare died on 23 April by the Julian calendar, in use in his own country at the time, he actually died 11 days "after" Cervantes, due to the discrepancy between the two calendar systems.[citation needed]

World Book Day by country[edit]

Forum on reading aloud held outside the campus library at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico City for the occasion


To celebrate this day, Cervantes's Don Quixote is read during a two-day "readathon" and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize is presented by the Spanish king in Alcalá de Henares.

In Catalonia, Spain, St. George's Day has been 'The Day of the Rose' since 1436, and involves the exchange of gifts between loved ones and respected people—it is analogous to Valentine's Day. Although World Book and Copyright Day has been celebrated since 1995 internationally, books were exchanged on 'The Day of the Rose' in Catalonia since at least 1926, in memory of Cervantes.[citation needed]


In Sweden, the day is known as Världsbokdagen ("World Book Day") and the copyright aspect is seldom mentioned. Normally celebrated on 23 April, it was moved to April 13 in the year 2000[2] and 2011 to avoid a clash with Easter.[3]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the UK, World Book Day is held annually on the first Thursday in March, as the 23 April clashes with Easter school holidays; additionally, the date is also the National Saint's Day of England, St George's Day.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What is World Book Day?". Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Världsbokdagen flyttas , Svensk Bokhandel, 22 October 1999
  3. ^ Världsbokdagen ”flyttas”, Dagens Nyheter, 11 November 2010.

External links[edit]