World Book Night 2011 was hailed as a success by the corporate arm of the industry but independent bookshops and individual authors questioned its project design from the start. Why give away free books rather than encourage book sales? Why highlight a very limited amount of books instead of tailoring the material on offer to their recipients?
Independent bookseller Vanessa Robertson, of The Edinburgh Bookshop, decided not to take the problems lying down. Like most bookshops, her book sales plummetted around the date of the event last year. For 2012, Vanessa has launched an alternative World Book Night. It’s aimed at a more joined-up and local response and she is inviting other independent bookshops and authors to take part.