Not all great ideas can survive the demands of economic reality. Today, World Book Night, the non-profit organization that has brought books to millions for the past three years, announced that it will suspend operations because, despite significant support, it cannot keep up with the cost of its noble cause.
Below is the full announcement from World Book Night. Our hats are off to its remarkable accomplishments and we keep hope that somehow the cause will be revived.
From World Book Night, July 2, 2014:
Dear World Book Night U.S. friend,
After three years in which thousands and thousands of you distributed over a million and half specially-printed World Book Night paperbacks across America, we are sad to announce that we are suspending operations. The expenses of running World Book Night U.S., even given the significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributors, shippers–and you, our amazing givers!–are too high to sustain.
This has been a remarkable, passionate undertaking, and it has been a success by all measures, except for one: Outside funding. For three years, the publishing industry and book community have very generously footed the bill and contributed enormous time and effort, and we are so very grateful for all the support.
We did receive some funds via individual donations, and we worked very hard to get grants. We did get some, but there are a lot of other worthy causes out there and only so much money available. We can’t carry on without significant, sustainable outside funding.
From World Book Night U.S. Board Chairman Michael Pietsch: “World Book Night’s first three years have been a profound experience for everyone involved. The altruistic spirit of the givers and of industry supporters have reminded us all of the transformative impact books have on people’s lives, and of the power of a book as a gift. The World Book Night Board joins me in extending their deep gratitude to all who have taken part.”
WBN U.S. Exec Director Carl Lennertz added: “Some of you know our names here, but I want to be sure you know these–Laura Peraza and Carolyn Schwartz. They have been here since day one, and they, along with you, are my heroes. Alia Almeida joined us this year and was a creative force. A list of all the booksellers, librarians, authors, and folks in publishing and at Ingram would be too long to include here, but they know who they are and I know they have loved being a part of this beautiful thing we did together.”
We are staying on hand through the summer without pay to maintain social media contact with you all, to talk good books, and to announce the winner of the giver essay contest.
YOU, the givers, made it possible for WBN to reach its full potential. For us here at World Book Night, this experience has been life-changing, as we hope it has been for you and recipients of the books. Our gratitude to you is simply immeasurable.
With much love, appreciation, and admiration, thank you!
Team WBN U.S.