Tuesday, 1 March 2011

All of the day and all of the night

It's World Book Night this Saturday. I'm joining with 19,999 other people to give away 48 books, part of a million being given away from a set of 25 very good titles reprinted specially by big publishers. I should have subverted it slightly and given away 48 Five Leaves' books. But I'm mean that way. I'll be giving The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, mostly to people attending a showing of the film by the same name at Flicks in the Sticks, Lowdham Book Festival's film weekend. Is it a good thing? There are quite a few people in the book trade complaining that flooding the market with free books at a time when shops are under pressure is crazy. On the other hand, in Lowdham village there are quite a few givers, and the local bookshop is handling the distribution, as part of its general promotion of a reading culture. I'm with them on that. Two of our writers are taking part in WBN events - J. David Simons will be doing a late night at Sauchiehall Street Waterestone's in Glasgow and Russel McLean will be strutting his stuff at Dundee Waterstone's, together with other local writers in each city. Some, backed by Susan Hill, argue that - as they do in Catalonia - there is a day where everyone buys a book to give away. This is the first WBN - I'm happy to go with the flow for next year, but there is a day Five Leaves' will be backing for sure. The Campaign for the Book is proposing a national library day, on the first Saturday of February, following the 110 events of protest against closures this February just gone (see this blog passim). The Campaign is suggesting a celebration of libraries - as the day of protest turned out to be - as part of a longer term campaign to keep libraries open, public and popular. Five Leaves can sign up for that without any need for discussion.

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