Millions of books to be donated Monday night

Associated Press Published: April 22, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — You won't need to visit a store or library Monday night to see a book change hands or receive a free copy yourself.

Thousands of towns and cities around the country and beyond are participating in the second annual World Book Night, when some 2.5 million free books are expected to be donated, whether at a children's shelter in Texas or a crisis center in Tampa, Fla. Among the works being given are Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games," Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," Michael Connelly's "Blood Work" and Leif Enger's "Peace Like a River."

"It's premium company, this list, and I'm glad and lucky to be on it," Enger said. "It also feels like a challenge. The idea is to entice people back into reading — to mesmerize, to sweep them up, to remind them of the thrill of the open page."

"World Book Night feels so magically old-fashioned," Alexie added.

World Book Night was originated in 2011 by managing director Jamie Byng of Canongate Books, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. This year marks the first time that the U.S. will be participating, along with the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany. Although some British booksellers complained last year that such a mass giveaway could hurt sales, World Book Night is being supported by the leading U.S. publishers and by the American Booksellers Association, the trade group for independents.

"One of the things I love is how this isn't just happening in New York and California," said Carl Lennertz, executive director of the U.S. branch of World Book Night. "The whole country is involved."

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