Why is World Book and Copyright Day celebrated?

11 Apr 2022 - Category: Blog /
worldbook day

World Book and Copyright Day is a special day for a worldwide community of readers. Every year writers, readers, publishers, and editors mark this day with book fairs, gifting and various book–focussed events.

In this blog, we’ll be exploring a number of topics to do with World Book and Copyright day, including:

  • What is World Book and Copyright Day?
  • A special date
  • World Book Day by region
  • What can you do on World Book and Copyright Day?
  • Send money abroad

What is World Book and Copyright Day?

World Book and Copyright Day is also known as World Book Day or International Day of the Book. It is an annual event organized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to celebrate reading, copyright and publishing around the world.

While the original idea was formed in the early twentieth century, the first official World Book Day was celebrated on 23 April in 1995. The event continues to be celebrated around the world on 23 April.

Back in 1922, the Spanish writer Vicente Clavel Andrés was thinking about a way to honor Miguel de Cervantes, the legendary Spanish writer known for his masterpiece Don Quixote. Vicente Clavel Andrés decided to celebrate books and the practice of reading on 7 October 1926, Cervantes’s birthday . A few years later he decided to move the celebration to 23 April to coincide with Cervantes’s death date.

In Spain the event quickly gained popularity as it coincided with the traditional Diada de Sant Jordi celebration. Diada de Sant Jordi is the patron saint of Catalonia and the book day was incredibly popular throughout the region. The Diada is a day that involves the exchange of gifts between family and friends. Since the Book Fair in Barcelona inspired by Vicente Clavel Andrés attempts to celebrate Miguel de Cervantes, the traditional gifts on Diada are a book and a rose.

A special date

The 23 April is a special date in the world of books for a number of reasons. Not only is 23 April the day that Cervantes died, the date is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. The fact that two of the greatest writers to have ever lived died on this particular date makes it the perfect date to celebrate writing, reading and publishing around the world. The date is also the anniversary of the birth or death of several other famous authors including Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

In 1995 UNESCO decided this particular date was to be known as World Book and Copyright Day. Since then events and celebrations have occurred in classrooms, libraries and bookshops in hundreds of countries to mark the occasion. It is a great initiative that helps to encourage more people to read, share what they’ve read and remember the contributions made to the world of literature by writers, editors, publishers and readers too!

Regarding the last couple years and the importance of World Book Day, UNESCO noted that:

Books have proved to be powerful tools to combat isolation, reinforce ties between people, expand our horizons, while stimulating our minds and creativity. In some countries the number of books read has doubled [during the pandemic].

During the month of April and all year round, it is critical to take the time to read on your own or with your children. It is a time to celebrate the importance of reading, foster children's growth as readers and promote a lifelong love of literature and integration into the world of work.

Through reading and the celebration of World Book and Copyright Day, 23 April, we can open ourselves to others despite distance, and we can travel thanks to imagination.”[]

World Book Day by region

  • United States

International day of the Book is celebrated throughout schools and libraries across the United States. Each state does it a little bit differently. In Maryland, the day is marked by a street festival on the Sunday closest to 26 April. In other states book fairs and gifting take place in schools, homes and community centers.

  • The UK and Ireland

A related charity event, also confusingly called World Book Day, is held in the UK and Ireland every year on the first Thursday in March. On this day every child in full-time primary or secondary education is given a voucher to be spent on books. This day is an extension of the World Book and Copyright Day celebrated in April, and helps to raise funds for Book Aid International and Readathon.

In 2021, World Book Day reached a number of important landmarks in the UK and Ireland. Over 2 million books were printed in 2021 giving children and young people 12 exciting books to choose from and own. 54k books donated by publishers were distributed via the National Literacy Trust to children least likely to have books. And 1 in 5 children receiving free school meals said the book they ‘bought’ with their WBD book token was the first book they had of their own.

  • Sweden

Världsbokdagen (“World Book Day”) is marked with lots of events and celebrations up and down the country. It is also celebrated on 23 April but was moved in 2000 and 2011 to avoid a clash with Easter. As in many other countries, the day is particularly important in schools and libraries where events are held to celebrate the books, reading and the importance of sharing ideas.

What can you do on World Book and Copyright Day?

  • Give your used books to your public library or to your friends
  • Shop at independent bookstores and try to find a book that is different to the books you normally read
  • Make a donation to a book charity such as Book Aid International, Books for Africa or Our Kids Read.

Transfer money abroad

If you’re looking forward to World Book and Copyright Day and you want to help your loved ones celebrate this day, then you may want to send money abroad to buy books, merchandise and other book related items. This is where Small World can help.

Small World is an international money transfer service helping millions transfer funds to their loved ones around the world everyday. We offer a number of safe, quick and easy transfer services to hundreds of countries including bank deposit, anywhere pickup, mobile wallet and home delivery.

With these simple and secure services you can support your family and friends and help them enjoy World Book and Copyright Day.

Your first digital transaction is always free of transfer fees!

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