UK & Irish book industry leads by example to Share a Story on World Book Day

In an unprecedented campaign to encourage reading for pleasure, World Book Day is collaborating with the Publishers Association and the Booksellers Association to bring together staff from across the industry to venture into communities, celebrate the magic of reading, and take time out to Share a Story on World Book Day (March 7th).

Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Faber & Faber, Simon & Schuster, Pan Macmillan and Egmont Publishing among others have joined the campaign to encourage volunteering in schools and communities, invite children into the workplace for storytelling sessions, and allow flexible working on World Book Day to enable staff to share stories with children and young people.

World Book Day’s Share a Story campaign call to action for families and carers across the UK and Ireland is to read for pleasure with their children for 10 minutes on World Book Day, and every day of the year, and transform their life chances. The World Book Day ambition is to restore reading for pleasure to the status of a celebrated national pastime for all.

Kirsten Grant, Director of World Book Day, said: “The book industry is leading by example, embracing World Book Day’s mission to get children and young people reading for pleasure – we are thrilled so many publishers have joined our campaign to take our Share a Story message to their staff and encourage reading with children and young people everywhere in so many creative and imaginative ways.”

Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, said: “World Book Day is a fantastic opportunity to encourage reading for pleasure and it is brilliant to see publishers pledging their support and encouraging their staff to share stories on the day. As a co-founder of World Book Day, the Publishers Association is very proud of our continued role in the biggest celebration of its kind. Our staff will be sharing stories and doing all they can to celebrate books and encourage a love of reading.”

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Publisher activities and initiatives include:

  • Penguin Random House will encourage staff to volunteer in schools and community settings across London, Frating and Grantham, including the most literacy-vulnerable parts of the capital, sharing stories, quizzes and career advice.

  • Hachette UK will give away free 10-book sets of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five for staff to share with children and young people and run a company-wide campaign to encourage staff to take 10 minutes every day to read with children and young people. Local school children will be invited to Carmelite House for an event with author, Pamela Butchart.

  • HarperCollins are celebrating with a massive takeover of The News Building – and will be gifting book bundles and encouraging the 4,000 people that work in The News Building to Share A Story on World Book Day and post their #ShareAStory online. HarperCollins are also donating 5,000 books to primary schools in Stoke on Trent and areas close the their offices in Southwark and Glasgow on the day.

  • Egmont Publishing will allow all staff to go home early to read to their children and encourage all staff to volunteer to read in a local school.

  • Pan Macmillan has introduced completely flexible working on World Book Day, so staff can take the time to read with children. The children’s division will host Storytelling Sessions (with pizza) at lunchtime for staff to read some of their favourite stories.

  • Faber & Faber will run online features of staff recounting stories of being read to and the impact it can have, and a social media campaign focussed on staff members with their children and their favourite books.

  • At Simon & Schuster UK, all staff will leave15 minutes earlier on World Book Day to read with a child or young person.

Tom Weldon, CEO of Penguin Random House UK said: “For the second year running, Penguin Random House UK is celebrating World Book Day with children and young people in literacy-vulnerable areas and our local communities across London, Frating and Grantham. In our largest single volunteering effort, over 550 colleagues will be going into 160 schools, libraries and community centres to share a story and champion the magic of reading. Last year I delivered a book quiz to thirty inquisitive ten-year-olds, and was blown away by the enthusiasm and insight of the children – and am very much looking forward to taking part again this year.”

David Shelley, CEO of Hachette UK, said: “Hachette UK is proud to support the excellent work of the World Book Day charity. Our children’s division, Hachette Children’s Group, produces wonderful £1 books every year and this year we look forward to celebrating WBD with our staff and partners through a variety of initiatives. Over the next month, we will be spreading the important ‘share a story campaign’ messages internally, particularly with a huge Enid Blyton book giveaway, and by encouraging everyone in the company to spend 10 minutes a day sharing a story with a child. WBD is the most effective way of reaching new readers and encouraging children to read for pleasure, something which is critical for the sustainability and growth of the entire book market. But even more important than that, we know that reading books as a child lays the foundation for future health and wellbeing. It opens a world of opportunity for children whoever and wherever they are and World Book Day is therefore absolutely key to Hachette’s stated aim to make it easy for all people, everywhere to access new worlds - of learning, of entertainment and of opportunity.”

Charlie Redmayne, CEO of HarperCollins, said: “For over twenty years World Book Day has been an exuberant and inclusive celebration of the joy of books and reading. It has inspired countless children and adults to pick up a book and, thanks to the support of authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, teachers, librarians and many others, it has become an annual reminder of the delight of sharing stories. It is also hugely important in bringing people into bookshops, and we’re proud to produce special £1 WBD books every year that help do just that. This is another special World Book Day for HarperCollins, as our £1 book comes from the Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child, and the brilliant Rob Biddulph, whose picture books we publish, is the official World Book Day illustrator. We’ll be taking the opportunity to get everyone sharing a story at HarperCollins sites across the UK, and in The News Building at London Bridge – with the best part of the story being that we’ll be giving 5,000 books from some of the best loved names in children’s writing and illustration to primary schools in Southwark, Glasgow and Stoke.”

Cally Poplak, Managing Director, Egmont Publishing, said: “Egmont is very proud to continue to support the excellent work of World Book Day, particularly the focus on Share A Story, which shines a spotlight on the critical importance of parents reading to their children.”

Ian Chapman, CEO and Publisher, Simon & Schuster UK: “It is easy to get distracted with the business of publishing but most of us work with books because we love sharing stories and this year’s ‘Share a Story’ campaign for World Book Day reminds us of that. It tallies with our attitude at Simon & Schuster that we are not just selling books, we are sharing experiences and we are really proud to be supporting it.”

In addition to this major industry partnership, World Book Day has brought together a wide-ranging coalition of family and consumer brands to support and spread the Share a Story campaign across the country, including:


• Pizza Express

• The Mall Group

• Clarks

• Marstons Pubs

• National Trust

• Royal Mail

• Chiltern Railways

• DFDS Seaways Ferries

• Edison House Group

• PricewaterhouseCoopers

• Roald Dahl Story Company

• Ernst & Young

• Ivy Collection

• Scrivens Opticians

Each year, schools, libraries, bookshops creatively take part in World Book Day, to bring the Share a Story message and the joy of reading to children and young people across the UK and Ireland.

Find more information, and join the conversation via: | @WorldBookDayUK | #ShareAStory

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Notes to Editors

About World Book Day

World Book Day is the registered charity behind the world’s biggest annual celebration of children’s books. It is dedicated to celebrating the benefits of reading for pleasure for everyone, everywhere – promoting the magic of books, the power of imagination and the importance of sharing stories. Designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, World Book Day is marked in over 100 countries around the globe.

It is sponsored by National Book Tokens and supported generously each year by the publishing industry, book trade, authors and illustrators. Every year, with a host of publishers and booksellers, World Book Day curates a list of bespoke £1 books for children and young people across the UK and Ireland. World Book Day’s mission is to encourage children and young people to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own. To mark the day each year, children are welcomed into bookshops and supermarkets across the nation where they can redeem their £1 World Book Day book token (or equivalent €1.50 in Ireland) to redeem for a free World Book Day title or, if they prefer, they can use it to get £1 off any book or audiobook of their choice, costing £2.99 or more. The day also sees children bringing books to life through an array of organised events and activities in schools, bookshops, libraries and at home.

About National Book Tokens

National Book Tokens are the perfect gift for book lovers everywhere and are the only gift cards sold and accepted in bookshops across the UK and Ireland, including all the major chains and local independents. As proud sponsors of World Book Day, National Book Tokens supports lifelong learning and improving literacy and access to reading for everyone.

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