World Book Day (UK and Ireland)
World Book Day is a charity event held annually in the United Kingdom and Ireland on the first Thursday in March. It is the local manifestation of World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days) organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright. On World Book Day, every child in full-time education in the UK is given a voucher to be spent on books.
The Day was first celebrated in 1995 in the United Kingdom. The original, global World Book Day event is generally observed on 23 April - it was changed in the UK to avoid clashes with Easter school holidays and with St George's Day. Conversely, a separate event World Book Night organized by independent charity The Reading Agency is held on 23 April.
The United Kingdom's own version of World Book Day began in 1998, launched by Prime Minister Tony Blair at the Globe Theatre in London. Several million schoolchildren in the UK were given a special £1 World Book Day Book Token (€1.50 in Ireland) which could be redeemed against any book in any UK bookshop. A specially created WBD anthology priced at £1 (€1.50 in Ireland) was also published. All World Book Day point of sale and the £1 book carried the special World Book Day logo to help unify the initiative through all outlets.
Since then, World Book Day UK has followed a similar pattern, gradually growing each year to encompass more initiatives, such as Spread The Word, Quick Reads Initiative and Books for Hospitals. Every year, the number of children receiving a World Book Day Book Token has increased.
In 2000, instead of a single £1 special anthology, four separate £1 books were published, covering a wider age-range. Since then, each year has seen a new set of special £1 books published.
In 2006, World Book Day began its support of and association with the Quick Reads initiative for adult emergent readers.
In 2007, World Book Day celebrated its 10th anniversary with the publication of 10 £1 books. Since then every child in full-time education in the UK and Ireland is entitled to receive a £1 World Book day Book token every year. They can swap their WBD token for one of specially-produced £1 WBD books or they can get £1 off a full-price book or audio book priced £2.99 or more.
In September 2007, World Book Day announced the revamp of the Spread the Word promotion for 2008 into an on-line book group featuring a number of adult books which would be suitable to book Groups. A short list of 10 titles was announced on 1 February 2008, and the winning book, Boy A by Jonathan Trigell (published by Serpent's Tail) was revealed on World Book Day 2008, 6 March 2008. World Book Day 2008 was declared by The Bookseller magazine to be more successful than any previous World Book Day.
World Book Day is a registered charity. It does not raise funds for itself but does support Book Aid International and Readathon as its nominated charities, encouraging schools to hold special fundraising events for children less fortunate than themselves. World Book Day is not funded by the British Government although the Quick Reads element does receive support from ACE, DIUS and NIACE. The funding for World Book Day activities comes principally from the major sponsor, National Book Tokens and the UK book trade (publishers and booksellers).