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World Book Night UK undergoes important changes for 2014

For the UK celebration, fewer books will be given to volunteers to distribute, but they will be freer give away other titles instead.

By Staff Writer / October 31, 2013

A volunteer distributes books in London as part of World Book Night.

Luke Macgregor/Reuters

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The UK incarnation of World Book Night will be undergoing some changes for its 2014 celebration.

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In the UK, where World Book Night was launched in 2011, the number of books that will be produced to be given away by volunteers will be halved from 500,000 to 250,000, according to industry newsletter Shelf Awareness.  

Instead, WBN UK is hoping to attract more volunteers with a new rule: volunteers will now be able to give away any book they choose rather than just the titles specified by World Book Night staff.

According to the Guardian, 20,000 volunteers participated in the UK celebration of World Book Night this past year but WBN had to turn some volunteers away. With the new rule allowing volunteers to supply their own books, everyone who shows up may participate. WBN staff hope to increase the number of volunteers for the event to 100,000 by 2017.

Volunteers who distribute books they supply themselves will be known as Community Book Givers, while those who are handing out titles from World Book Night staff will be called World Book Night Edition Book Givers.

In addition, volunteers in the UK could now be given more than 20 books to hand out (the previous limit) if they reside or work in certain areas. Places like community centers and prisons that have distributed titles in the past could also get more than 20.

Another big change: Up until now, all participants have been allowed to vote to help select the books that would be distributed for World Book Night. But the selection process has now changed and a committee will make the decision on its own instead.

The UK World Book Night also recently announced that the event will now be conducted by The Reading Group, a charity that works to support libraries and starts programs to encourage people of all ages to pick up a book. Previously, WBN was a charity that operated on its own.

World Book Night is scheduled to be held April 23.

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