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
Official nameWorld Book and Copyright Day
Also calledWND
Observed byAll UN Member States
Date23 April
Next time23 April 2022 (2022-04-23)

World Book Day, also known as World Book and Copyright Day or International Day of the Book, is an annual event organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. The first World Book Day was celebrated on 23 April in 1995, and continues to be recognized on that day. A related event in the United Kingdom and Ireland is observed in March.[1]

Date selection[edit]

The original idea was conceived in 1922 by Spanish writer Vicente Clavel Andrés as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes. It was first celebrtaed on 7 October 1926, Cervantes' birthday, before being moved to his death date, 23 April, in 1930.[2] The celebration continued to enjoy great popularity in Spain, especially in Catalonia, where it coincides with the Diada de Sant Jordi, the patron saint of Catalonia. The Diada usually involves the exchange of gifts between loved ones and, since the 1931 Book Fair in Barcelona, the gifts are a book and a rose.[2]

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 death of William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as that of the birth or death of several other prominent authors.[3] (In a historical coincidence, Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same date — 23 April 1616 — but not on the same day, as at the time, Spain used the Gregorian calendar and England used the Julian calendar; Shakespeare actually died 10 days after Cervantes died, on 3 May of the Gregorian calendar.)

World Book Day by region[edit]

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


In Spain, Book Day began to be celebrated since 1926 every October 7,[4] the date that Miguel de Cervantes was believed to have been born. But, it was considered more appropriate to celebrate this day in a more pleasant season for walking and browsing the books in the open-air. Spring was much better than fall. So in 1930 King Alfonso XIII approved the change of celebration of the Book Day on April 23, the supposed date of the death of Cervantes.[5]


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 13 April in the year 2000[6] and 2011 to avoid a clash with Easter.[7]

United Kingdom and Ireland[edit]

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, World Book Day is a charity event in March, held annually on the first Thursday and coinciding with the release of special editions.[8] The annual celebration on 23 April is World Book Night, an event organized by independent charity The Reading Agency.[9]

United States[edit]

In Kensington, Maryland, the International Day of the Book is celebrated with a street festival on the Sunday closest to 26 April.[10]

In 2020, the 15th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[10]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "World Book Day 2021: Theme, Quotes, History, Significance | Sa News". S A NEWS. 23 April 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b Dalmases, Irene (20 April 2020). "El Día del Libro ha trasladado en ocho ocasiones la fecha de su celebración". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  3. ^ "World Book and Copyright Day - EN | United Nations". Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  4. ^ "World Book Day April 23". 3 April 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  5. ^ The World Book Day | url=
  6. ^ Världsbokdagen flyttas Archived 2012-04-08 at the Wayback Machine, Svensk Bokhandel, 22 October 1999
  7. ^ Världsbokdagen "flyttas", Dagens Nyheter, 11 November 2010.
  8. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". World Book Day (UK & Ireland). 7 March 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  9. ^ "World Book Night". Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Kensington Day of the Book Festival - TOK". Town of Kensington.

External links[edit]