July 24, 2014

Sign-up ends today to become a giver of free books on World Book Night

Alice Meyer during the 2012 World Book Night

Alice Meyer during the 2012 World Book Night

The deadline is today for Iowans who are interested in spreading the love of reading by giving away free books as part of World Book Night in April.

Last year, tens of thousands of people took part in the event which passed out a half-million books to light readers and non-readers. Alice Meyer is one of the Iowa organizers.

“It can introduce reading to people,” Meyer says. “It introduces good books to people. It’s reaching out to people who don’t maybe have access to books or normally read.”

All you need to do to become a book giver is sign up on the website, which includes choosing from among 30 titles, like Willa Cather’s “My Antonia,” Tina Fey’s “Bossypants,” “Farenheit 451″ by Ray Bradbury or “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” by Mark Twain.

Meyer, who owns Beaverdale Books in Des Moines, says the book givers decide where they’ll go to hand out their paperbacks.

“On World Book Night, April 23rd, they just go forth and give out books,” Meyer says. “We’ve had people going to halfway houses and homeless shelters, and nursing homes and bus stops — the list is just endless where people have given out books.”

It’s a wide-ranging volunteer effort. The paper and the printing of the books is donated, publishers’ fees are waived, authors are passing up their royalties and even the shipping is free — all for the sake of loving to read.

“It is wonderful,” Meyer says. “We had so much fun. Last year, when we gave out our books, we had a little party and the excitement — you could just feel it in the room. People were so excited about it. It was very interesting to see why people chose the book that they did and what they were planning to do with it.”

Learn more at www.worldbooknight.org.