World Book Night Offers Free E-Book, Announces Essay Contest

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World Book Night U.S. (WBN) announced today that a proprietary e-book featuring 10 short stories and essays by booksellers, librarians, and authors who are WBN participants will be available for free for two weeks beginning April 22. A joint effort of World Book Night, Livrada, and Ingram, The World Book Night 2014 eBook: An Original Collection of Stories and Essays by Booksellers, Librarians, and Authors “is a supplement to our primary mission of printed books, not a change in direction,” said WBN U.S. Executive Director Carl Lennertz.

“It’s short and fun original material, and we wanted the givers to have this to offer anyone they meet who might not read often on their smart phones or tablets. Our main mission is still to find a half million people without means or access to printed books, but this digital extra is a nice plus. We also feel it’s a great thank you to the 25,000 volunteer givers to enjoy as well. And now, we have a giver contest to be in next year’s e-book!”

The 10 best essay contest submissions from this year’s volunteer givers on their April 23 World Book Night experience will be included in a special WBN e-book next year. One winner will be chosen in each of nine national regions plus an overseas military base category. The grand prize winner will receive a pair of Jet Blue tickets to anywhere the airline flies in the U.S.

In addition, the 10 best essays from bookseller-givers will comprise another special free e-book, and the grand prize-winning bookseller will receive a pair of plane tickets to BookExpo America 2015. A librarian essay contest will happen concurrently.

Essays should reflect the experiences of the giver and those to whom they gave books on April 23, 2014. The deadline for submission is May 31. Full rules, guidelines, regional breakdowns, and terms and conditions are on the WBN website.

Booksellers are strongly encouraged to mention the contest at their giver receptions and  to hand out a one-page flier, available here and under Resources/Bookseller tab on the WBN website.

“We’ve discussed a digital component for WBN since year one, but it didn’t come together until the great people at Livrada stepped forward, and until two authors who were givers agreed to contribute pieces,” said Lennertz. “Then we sought and received the fun bookseller and library contributions to the e-book.”

Booksellers in the this year’s e-book are Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo of Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, New York; Susan Scott of The Secret Garden Bookshop in Seattle, Washington; Aaron Curtis of Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida; and Sam Kaas of Village Books, Bellingham, Washington. Also included is former bookseller and Shelf Awareness contributor Robert Gray.

Among the 20 WBN launch events on Tuesday evening, April 22, will be two featuring the authors who contributed essays to the free e-book. Washington, D.C.’s Politics & Prose will host Elliot Holt, author of You Are One of Them (Penguin trade paper, April 29), and Houston’s Brazos Bookstore will host Chris Cander, author of Whisper Hollow (Other Press, January 2015). Holt and Cander were both WBN givers and were asked to contribute book excerpts to launch the first WBN e-book.

The 2014 WBN e-book, available at for a month beginning April 22, will be accessible to devices with web browsers, as well as downloadable as a PDF to print.

Livrada co-founder and CEO Leonard Chen said, “As a company, we are thrilled to bring our technology and resources to support World Book Night. As a collective of book lovers, it is personally gratifying. Books are central to our own lives, bringing empowerment and inspiration during life transitions, solace in times of grief, escape, entertainment, and the exploration of worlds beyond our imagination. We strive to meld our passion for technology and books, and hope this e-book brings joy to many people this WBN 2014.”

Earlier this week, WBN announced the launch of an interactive giver-by-zip-code map and an official list of host stores and libraries.

“This is a major new tool for local media, a boost for the participating stores and libraries, and just great fun for the givers,” said Lennertz. “When we posted static giver maps without numbers the last two years, our Facebook traffic exploded with excitement, as givers got to see for the first time that they were part of something big. Now, with the numbers [of givers] per zip code, they can feel even prouder — and many, many more media outlets will have the answer to their first question: How many givers in our area?”

Lennertz also noted that the WBN website’s Resources for the Media page now includes a list of all 2,330 WBN host stores and libraries. “It’s a record total for us, and it supplies the media with the easy answer to their next question: Who’s supporting WBN in our market?” he said.