Tuesday, April 24, 2012

World Book Night



So, tonight was World Book Night!  I was lucky enough to be selected to be one of the givers, and it was fun, but it was actually tougher than I thought.  (I was also fortunate to get my first choice of book, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.)   I'm not done with my book giveaway -- I still have about six copies of my book left -- so if anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

I probably should have done more research first, I think my biggest problem was my choice of location.  I live in San Antonio, not too far from a nice outdoor shopping area which has a movie theater, Starbucks, and a now-defunct Borders bookstore.  I thought this would be a GREAT place to hand out free books, since there's no bookstore anymore!   I was wrong.

First of all, it never occurred to me that people at the mall might not want free things -- and that there would be bureaucracy to deal with.  Apparently, to pass out something on the mall property, I needed to fill out paperwork and get permission, which I should have done weeks ago.  What was I thinking?  One retailer did suggest I ask at the Starbucks, which was a great suggestion -- the manager was really nice and said that Starbucks was very accommodating for things like that, and I'd have no trouble at any of the locations.  So, Starbucks was my first choice, and I decided hitting up several coffeehouses would be a great way to do this.  There are four Starbucks within a five-mile radius.  I also took my kids -- when in doubt, ask a cute ten-year-old girl to do your bidding (with supervision, of course!)



At the first Starbucks, we struck out completely -- there were only three people deep in conversation, who did not seem receptive or friendly.  We went to a second location, and gave out a bunch of books, including one to an employee who said he was actually dyslexic.

I ran into problems at the third Starbucks -- everyone seemed hard at work and engrossed in their laptops, and everyone I talked to loved to read!  I started to feel really self-conscious and got discouraged, and decided I might be better off giving them away at the library where I work tomorrow.  On the way home, my girls wanted to do a little shopping, so we stopped in at one last store before we left.  I started chatting with some of the employees, and one lady said that she really liked to read, but that she had another job at a Wal-Mart, and hardly any of her co-workers read books, and she'd definitely give copies to them, so I gave her a couple of books.  Hopefully, it isn't bad to enlist other people to spread the joy of reading.

Officially, World Book Night is today, April 23rd, but I guess it's all right to keep passing books out the rest of the week.  Did anyone else sign up this year?  Any suggestions about good locations?  How did you approach strangers?

12 comments:

  1. This is such an awesome idea! I wish I had heard of this. I would love to do this! And what a great book you gave away! :) :) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought so too when I heard about it last year! I was so excited to be selected to be a giver.

      Delete
  2. I've never done World Book Night, but I wouldn't have thought of permits either! Bummer. I read a few posts about people who went to parks or places where they knew homeless people hung out, and I thought that was an interesting idea. Good luck giving away the rest at the library!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, in theory I guess I understand why -- they don't want their customers being bothered, or to be liable, etc. It was very weird because normally I'm not shy about talking to strangers at all, but then I'm not usually trying to give them something. It was easier when I had already struck up a conversation with someone first, like a store employee.

      Delete
  3. Sorry your WBN wasn't a success. I had seen people on Twitter talking about permission, so I checked with each place...but not too much in advance. Sometimes I think it's better to follow the saying and ask for forgiveness, not permission.

    My mom and sis came with me, and we ended up having a really nice night handing out books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't heard that saying about asking forgiveness -- I'll have to remember it. It sounds like a nice thing to do with your mom. My mother is very chatty and would have been the perfect person to bring with me, but she lives about six states away. :-(

      Delete
  4. I am really hoping this event comes to Canada and thank you for mentioning the issue with the mall. Who knew?! If someone is in my personal space for a micro-second I strike up a conversation with them so there will be no mercy if I'm given the chance and a box of books.

    I love that you got your daughters involved, that's a great memory for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your comment about how you strike up conversations with people! I normally am not at all shy about talking to strangers but I became really self-conscious after awhile, I felt like I was invading people's personal space.

      I hope it comes to Canada too! I think it's a great idea.

      Delete
  5. I've heard of World Book Night, but I hadn't really checked out what it was all about. Kudos for you for participating. I still haven't read The Book Thief, though my kids absolutely love it. Seems like a good choice for a giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Book Thief is just wonderful. It's usually classified as a YA novel but I think that's debatable. I'd recommend it for almost anyone about 14 and up. Of course it's a WWII novel and it's got some serious themes, but it's just great.

      Delete
  6. I really wanted to participate this year, but I didn't have a personal connection with any of the titles on offer so decided not to apply - I will next year if there is a book I feel I must give away.
    So sorry you had a mixed experience! At least you learned from it and were able to pass on your advice to the rest of us.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So jealous you got to give away The Book Thief! But I can see that walking up to strangers to say, HEY, you NEED to read this book would have pretty much freaked me out. Still, it would have been a blast! Next year I hope to get in on things in time!

    ReplyDelete