Free Books For All!

on Thursday, January 19, 2012
Seems everyone is hopping on the World Book Night bandwagon! Everyone, that is, except Australia. The idea behind WBN, according to its website is "to give books to new readers, to encourage reading, to share your passion for a great book. The entire publishing, bookstore, library, author, printing, and paper community is behind this effort with donated services and time." Brilliant! In America alone, one million books will be given away on April 23.

Even on a micro level, I love the idea of giving away good books to complete strangers. Indeed, it would solve my current dilemma of what to do with my mirror library. Having finally constructed a room to house my collection, thereby giving me cause to actually do a stock take, I've realised that I have multiple copies of a fair few of my favourite books. For now they're housed at my parents' place. They too were forced to build a room's worth of shelving just to store the overflow. But wouldn't it be great to whittle down the collection with a Book Crossing-style mass-giveaway?

I hope Australia gets on board with the whole World Book Night movement. I know the publishing industry is struggling but the joint investment by them and the government (who ought to heavily subsidise it) is worth it in terms of having people fall in love with books again (by which I mean those old-fashioned paper things, not the ones that fly through space and land on a piece of chip-filled plastic). I also hope individuals start sharing the books they love but don't feel the need to keep. I, for one, am going to start leaving books on park benches or tram stops or anywhere else that someone might happen upon them. Free books to good homes, I say. Much better than having them cloistered away, gathering dust, without ever being looked at (let alone read).


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