World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days) is a yearly event on 23 April, organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to promote reading, publishing and copyright. In the United Kingdom, the day is recognised on the first Thursday in March. World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on 23 April 1995.
UNESCO honours 23 April as World Book Day to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those, who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.
Why 23 April you may ask? Well this day has been chosen by booksellers in Catalonia as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes, who died on this date. In 1995 UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on 23 April, as the date is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as that of the birth or death of several other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.
Each year, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry – publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a one-year period, effective 23 April each year.
The city of Incheon was chosen for 2015 in recognition of its programme to promote reading among people and underprivileged sections of the population. Previous World Book Capital have included Port Harcourt, Nigeria (2014), Bangkok, Thailand (2013), Yerevan, Armenia (2012) and Beunos Aires, Argentina (2011). Wroclaw, Poland will be the next World Book Capital City in 2016 on account of the quality of its programme. Becoming a World Book Capital City does not have any financial implications or prizes for the chosen city, but is an exclusively symbolic acknowledgement of the best programme dedicated to books and reading.
Many countries around the world celebrate this day in their own way with reading programmes and initiatives to get their citizens to read more.