Books are the purest form of escapism. They can take you to any time, place, or culture. In honor of National Book Lovers Day August 9, we put away our smartphones, pull out a good book and simply read. (Well, an audiobook will suffice too.) From clay tablets to today’s eBooks, literature has played a crucial role in preserving cultures, educating the masses, and storytelling. Thanks to Johannes Gutenberg’s 15th-century printing press, anyone, not just royalty, monks or landed gentry, could read and own books. But, alas, there was no overnight shipping. Today, join a book club or re-read a favorite novel because National Book Lovers Day rocks!
When is National Book Lovers Day 2023?
Book lovers, bookworms, and bibliophiles celebrate National Book Lovers Day on August 9, 2021.
History of National Book Lovers Day
Book Lovers Day appreciates the medium that has withstood and preserved its importance in time — literature. Our love for books knows no bounds — someday we’ll write a book on it.
The modern book is made by binding paper, but before the invention of paper, books came in the form of tablets, scrolls, and engravings. Every civilization had its own way to document events. Some time in 3500 B.C., the Mesopotamians would make markings on clay tablets using a pointed device, made from the stem of the reed plant, called the calamus. These writings on the moist clay were called ‘cuneiform.’ Approximately 20,000 of these tablets were discovered in modern-day Iraq.
Paper was invented in China in the 1st century A.D. By experimenting with various materials such as hemp, fishnets, and the mulberry plant, Ts’ai Lun invented the first paper. With time, printing on woodblocks also became the go-to way of reproducing books in China. The ancient scrolls dating back to the 4th century B.C. are considered the first ‘books,’ but by today’s definition, the oldest surviving compiled book is “The Diamond Sutra” which was published in China on May 11, 868.
Hardback books ruled the market at the start of the 20th century, with a certain prestige associated with the hard bindings of books. But from 1937 onwards, paperbacks rose in popularity, paving the way for digests, pulp fiction, and pocket-friendly books.
Advancement in computers and technology led to the digitization of books, with the first book sold in CD format in the 1980s, “The New Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia.”
National Book Lovers Day timeline
Ex-goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg invents the printing press.
Iconic Left Bank bookstore Shakespeare and Company publishes James Joyce's masterpiece when no one else would give it a chance.
Poet Allen Ginsberg's book "Howl" is so controversial that Lawrence Ferlinghetti, owner and publisher of City Lights in San Francisco, winds up busted for obscenity.
At the height of her popularity, Oprah Winfrey names “The Deep End of the Ocean” by Jacquelyn Mitchard as the first offering in her book club.
Books, books, and more books! Traditions for the day are all about books! Some of the many traditions of National Book Lovers Day include taking advantage of the great discounts on paperbacks, having a book haul, starting a new book, reading a new genre, donating books, encouraging others to read, and reading a book adaption of a movie you like.
Authors and publishers host questions and answers sessions, either in-person or online. New excerpts are also released from books coming soon. Online book communities like Goodreads are extra active today, and aesthetically pleasing pictures of books grace our newsfeeds on social media sites.
National Book Lovers Day By The Numbers
1,207,937 – the number of reading sessions started on Bookly in the past year.
8.27 – the number of books per person by which book sales fell in 2001.
359,803 – the number of books and e-books added on Bookly between 2019 and 2020.
16,555 – the number of audiobooks added on Bookly between 2019 and 2020.
909,394 – the number of reading sessions started by female users on Bookly between 2019 and 2020.
350,485 – the number of reading sessions started by male users on Bookly between 2019 and 2020.
25–34 – the ages between which the most books are read.
80 million – the number of active users on the popular book site Goodreads.
24% – the percentage of American adults who have not read a book in 2018.
6 – the number of books by Dr. Seuss that rank among the top 20 bestselling children’s books of all time.
National Book Lovers Day FAQs
Is there a National Book Day?
World Book Day is observed annually on April 23.
What month is National Book Month?
National Book Month is held each October. The month-long celebration focuses on the importance of reading, writing, and literature.
How do you celebrate Book Lovers Day?
Some ways to celebrate Book Lovers Day include starting a book club, supporting a local indie author, recommending books to others, and even starting to write your own book!
When is National Book Lovers Day 2021?
National Book Lovers Day 2021 will be observed on the 9th of August.
National Book Lovers Day Activities
Visit your local library
Public libraries have been around since the Middle Ages. But back in those days, books were often chained to the bookcases to prevent theft. On National Book Lovers Day, reconnect with the past by browsing the shelves at your local library. Bonus points if you pick a book off the shelf, find a cozy nook and read it right there at the library.
Make as many literary references as possible
National Book Lovers Day is a day of great expectations. It's not a quixotic task to make as many literary references as possible. If you manage to reference at least 10 books, you deserve a red badge of courage.
Participate in a book exchange
What better way to celebrate National Book Lovers Day than by trading an old favorite with a friend in exchange for something new? Better yet, get a few friends together for a group book exchange. Before handing off your book, share a few words about what that book means to you.
5 Things Every Bibliophile Agrees With!
Best gift ever!
A book is the best present that someone can give you on your birthday
The book was better
The book will always be better, no matter how faithful the movie adaption is.
No fancy bookmarks here
Anything can be a bookmark if you are creative enough.
Lost in translation
Bibliophiles take time to recover from the stories they have been immersed in, especially if there is a death of their favorite fictional character!
Books that don’t get returned!
People who borrow books and never return them are the bane of a bibliophile’s existence!
Why We Love National Book Lovers Day
Books connect us to the universe
American novelist James Baldwin said it best: "You think your pain and heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read." Books help us understand each other, feel less alone, and put our complex emotions into words.
Books let us escape the limits of time and space
Books are powerful. They're the only medium that can transport us through time and space — into the past, present, future, and faraway worlds — galaxies away. We don't even have to leave our couch or change out of our pajamas!
The book Is (usually) better than the movie
Can you think of many movies that break this rule? Screenplays often simplify subtle complexities of the book and sadly, in many cases, the original author may have very little input. Go to the movies? No, thanks. We'd rather read a book! At least on National Book Lovers Day.
National Book Lovers Day dates