by Leonard Gill
The idea started in the U.K. last year. This year, it spreads to the U.S.A. On the night of April 23rd, volunteers agree to hand-deliver 20 free copies of a book from a list of 30 available titles that are specially produced for this event and not for resale. In Memphis, the Booksellers at Laurelwood has signed on as a distribution point; members of the store's staff have signed on to be among the hoped-for 50,000 U.S. volunteers distributing a hoped-for 1 million free paperbacks.
This is no fly-by-night operation. World Book Night U.S. is a nonprofit group supported by the American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble, the American Library Association, and the Association of American Publishers.
The organization's website is the place to go to learn all you need to know, to view the list of titles available, and to become a "giver." But you do need to act. That deadline to register as a volunteer is, again, February 1st. The number for the Booksellers at Laurelwood is 683-9801.