World Book and Copyright Day, otherwise known as World Book Day, is celebrated every year on April 23. The events done to honor the day are organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. The holiday was originally invented by Vicente Clavel Andres to honor Miguel de Cervantes, a notable Spanish author.
History of World Book and Copyright Day
Although World Book and Copyright Day was officially inaugurated in 1995, its conception is traceable to Spanish writer, Vicente Clavel Andres, who conceived the idea in 1922. He developed the holiday to pay tribute to the notable author, Miguel de Cervantes. Because Cervantes was born on October 7, World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on October 7, 1926.
However, in 1930, King Alfonso XIII of Spain changed the date to April 23, which is Cervantes’ death date. In Catalonia, Spain, the holiday enjoyed great popularity — especially because April 23 is also the feast day of Saint Jordi or ‘Diada de Sant Jordi,’ the patron saint of Catalonia. On Saint Jordi’s day, gifts are given, and ever since the Barcelona Book Fair of 1931, typical gifts include books and roses. Coincidentally, April 23 also marks the death anniversary of authors William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. These factors played a major role in UNESCO selecting April 23 to celebrate its own World Book and Copyright Day in 1995.
The purpose of the holiday is to encourage and promote reading and publishing, as well as advance the protection of intellectual property through copyright. According to UNESCO’s website — “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 the distance, and we can travel thanks to the imagination.’
World Book and Copyright Day timeline
The world’s oldest mechanically-printed book — “the Gutenberg Bible” — is printed.
Vicente Clavel Andres comes up with the idea to celebrate World Book Day.
World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated for the first time on October 7.
The annual date for World Book and Copyright Day is shifted to April 23.
World Book and Copyright Day FAQs
When was UNESCO formed?
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization was formed on November 16, 1945.
Who is the most famous author of all time?
William Shakespeare is considered by many to be the most famous author of all time.
What was the first book ever written?
The first written story that has survived to this day is “The Epic of Gilgamesh.”
World Book and Copyright Day Activities
Buy a book
The purpose of this holiday is to encourage reading. If you’d love to celebrate the right way, go ahead and read that book you’ve bought but haven’t had the chance to read.
Start a reading challenge
Gather a few of your friends and start a reading challenge. See who can read the most books within a limited period. Alternatively, you can also challenge yourself to finish a certain number of books every month.
Donate a book
Pledge to donate as many books as you can to foundations, charities, or orphanages. Books are gifts that might not cost you much but that translate into a wealth of knowledge for the recipient. Open up a person’s world by donating a book.
Why We Love
Reading makes you empathetic
Studies have shown that people who read fiction have a heightened ability to empathize with others.
Reading builds your vocabulary
Children who read more books have larger vocabularies than those who don’t.
Reading keeps your mind active
According to the National Institute on Aging, reading books and magazines helps to prevent cognitive decline.
Reading helps you sleep better
Reading before you sleep might help you fall asleep more easily.
Reading lowers depression levels
Reading has been proven to help alleviate symptoms of depression.
Why We Love World Book and Copyright Day
It promotes reading culture
World Book and Copyright Day promotes a healthy reading culture all around the world. Instead of regarding the act of reading as a bore, we’re encouraged to turn reading into a hobby and favorite pastime.
Books make the world go round
Without books, everyone would have limited knowledge about the world. Books facilitate the spread of information and ideas. We can go from being amateurs on a subject to becoming experts, all by taking the time to read.
Intellectual property is promoted
World Book and Copyright Day also creates awareness about the intellectual property of authors. We’re reminded to get our books legally, without infringing on the copyright of authors.
World Book and Copyright Day dates