World Book Day in Denmark

An initiative under Denmark’s Reading

In 2013 Danish minister for culture Marianne Jelved launched Denmark’s Reading – an ambitious project aiming to inspire some of the 40 per cent of Danes, who are not keen readers, to get reading. Now the minister launches the second initiative of the campaign – a Danish version of World Book Day on April 23rd 2015. 

Give a book to a none-reader! Campaign photo from Denmark is Reading day Photo: Mette UdesenThe pivotal point is a powerful non-profit collaboration between the Ministry of Culture, around 300 libraries, more than 200 bookstores and other partners of the book-industry countrywide. The initiative was launched at the national bookfair in Copenhagen – Bogforum – on November 7th 2014.

100,000 books in circulation

Quite simply, the gist of the initiative is to recruit 4,000 passionate volunteers among book-loving Danes and ask them to distribute 100,000 books and thus share their love of reading with people who, for whatever reason, don’t read for pleasure or own books.

It is up to the book-givers themselves to decide who should receive the 25 books they are given to hand out. It could be in their workplace, in the sports club, around the neighbourhood, at the local nursing home, in prisons or in hospitals etc. The aim is primarily to make fiction available to those who seldom read and offer them the chance to discover first hand, what literature has to offer.

The central idea of the campaign and an important point for the minister for culture has been “to support a broad and  cross-disciplinary initiative, based on the general and common enthusiasm for reading. With this campaign we will be able to promote reading to more people and particularly to those, who don’t normally read very much”.

The national book-giver event will take place on April 23rd 2015. This date was chosen by UNESCO in 1995 as it was the death and birth anniversary of William Shakespeare. The overall aim of the day is to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors and to encourage everyone to discover the pleasure of reading.

In the months leading up to April 23rd 2015, a campaign will be launched through the network of the collaborating partners and via a partnership with DR (the national Danish broadcasting company). The over-all purpose is to recruit the 4,000 book-givers.

From everyone to everyone

All Danish publishers have been invited to submit a maximum of five Danish titles to the campaign. The only criteria set are that the titles have a broad appeal and that they are no longer than 300 pages.

From the suggested titles five are selected by a professional jury – an author, a bookseller, a librarian, a literary mediator, a literature journalist and a literary scholar. The five titles will be printed in 20,000 copies each and distributed to libraries and book-shops in boxes of 25.

The publishers thus play an important part by submitting titles to the jury. The partnership with Denmark’s Reading thus allows for a revitalization of their backlists or an opportunity to break a brand new author.

Libraries and bookshops also play an important role in Denmark’s Reading in providing the logistical link between the campaign and the book-givers, as this is where they collect their books in the days leading up to April 23rd 2015. Also, libraries and bookshops play a vital role in the recruitment of book-givers.

In a greater perspective

The overall message of Denmark’s Reading and the Danish version of World Book Day is that fiction offers great experiences that deserve to be shared with others. With the strong collaboration between the partners in the book trade the vision is to “get more people reading”.

According to the minister for culture, the involvement of the partners and their networks can be transferred to a greater perspective, as the campaign can also be “seen in connection with the many other public initiatives that are supporting literature and the Danish language, for example Danish Arts Foundation, the libraries and the initiatives in primary and secondary schools,” the Minister for culture, Marianne Jelved, has stated.

In this way Denmark’s Reading brings together the book industry for the common and overriding purpose of bringing more people into contact with literature, but also contributes as an initiative to other political focus areas.

To get to know more about Denmark is Reading, please visit the campaign website at www.danmarklaeser.dk and you may follow the campaign at www.facebook. com/danmarklaeser

Danmark Læser administrative office The Danish Agency for Culture
Campaign manager, Denmark is reading The Danish Agency for Culture