World Book Day
UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day 2012 poster
Official nameWorld Book and Copyright Day
Also calledWBD
Observed byAll UN Member States
Date23 April
Next time23 April 2025 (2025-04-23)

World Book Day, also known as World Book and Copyright Day or International Day of the Book, is an annual event organized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. The first World Book Day was celebrated on 23 April in 1995, and continues to be recognized on that day. A related event in the United Kingdom and Ireland is observed in March.[1] On the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day, UNESCO along with the advisory committee from the major sectors of the book industry, select the World Book Capital for one year. Each designated World Book Capital City carries out a program of activities to celebrate and promote books and reading.[2] In 2024, Strasbourg was designated as the World Book Capital.[3]

Date selection

The original idea was conceived in 1922 by Vicente Clavel, director of Cervantes publishing house in Barcelona, as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes and boost the sales of books. It was first celebrated on 7 October 1926, Cervantes' birthday, before being moved to his death date, 23 April, in 1930.[4] The celebration continues with great popularity in Catalonia, where it is referred to as Sant Jordi's Day or The Day of Books and Roses.

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.[5] (In a historical coincidence, Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same date—23 April 1616—but not on the same day, as at the time, Spain used the Gregorian calendar and England used the Julian calendar; Shakespeare actually died 10 days after Cervantes died, on 3 May of the Gregorian calendar.)

World Book Day by region

World Book Capital

The World Book Capital (WBC) is an initiative of UNESCO which recognises cities for promoting books and fostering reading for a year starting on April 23, World Book and Copyright Day.[2] Cities designated as UNESCO World Book Capital carry out activities with the aim of encouraging a culture of reading in all ages and sharing UNESCO's values.[6]

UNESCO adopted the 31c/Resolution 29, in 2001, establishing the World Book Capital programme and naming Madrid as the first WBC city in 2001. The advisory committee is composed of UNESCO, the International Publishers Association, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, the International Authors Forum and the International Booksellers Federation.[6]


In Spain, Book Day began to be celebrated since 1926 every October 7,[7] the date that Miguel de Cervantes was believed to have been born. But, it was considered more appropriate to celebrate this day in a more pleasant season for walking and browsing the books in the open-air. Spring was much better than fall. So in 1930 King Alfonso XIII approved the change of celebration of the Book Day on April 23, the supposed date of the death of Cervantes.[7]

Forum on reading aloud held outside the campus library at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico City for the occasion


In Sweden, the day is known as Världsbokdagen ("World Book Day") and the copyright aspect is seldom mentioned. Normally celebrated on 23 April, it was moved to 13 April in the year 2000[8] and 2011 to avoid a clash with Easter.[9]

United Kingdom and Ireland

Main article: World Book Day (UK and Ireland)

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, World Book Day is a charity event in March, held annually on the first Thursday and coinciding with the release of special editions.[10] The annual celebration on 23 April is World Book Night, an event organized by independent charity The Reading Agency.[11]

United States

In Kensington, Maryland, the International Day of the Book is celebrated with a street festival on the Sunday closest to 26 April.[12] In 2020, the 15th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[12]


World Book Day is also celebrated in India on 23 April every year.[13] It is commemorated in many parts of India to encourage & aware of people for reading & publishing books.[14][15]


See also


  1. ^ "World Book Day 2021: Theme, Quotes, History, Significance | Sa News". S A NEWS. 23 April 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b "World Book and Copyright Day". UNESCO. 29 April 2021. Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Dalmases, Irene (20 April 2020). "El Día del Libro ha trasladado en ocho ocasiones la fecha de su celebración". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  5. ^ "World Book and Copyright Day - EN | United Nations". Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  6. ^ a b "UNESCO World Book Capital". UNESCO. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  7. ^ a b "World Book Day April 23". Skip the Line Barcelona. 3 April 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Världsbokdagen flyttas". Svensk Bokhandel. 22 October 1999. Archived from the original on 8 April 2012.
  9. ^ "Världsbokdagen "flyttas"". Dagens Nyheter. 11 November 2010. Archived from the original on 6 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". World Book Day (UK & Ireland). 7 March 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  11. ^ "World Book Night". Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Kensington Day of the Book Festival - TOK". Town of Kensington.
  13. ^ "World Book and Copyright Day 2021: History, theme, significance and all you need to know". India Today. 22 April 2021. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  14. ^ "World Book Day 2021: Why It Is Celebrated, Other Interesting Facts". Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  15. ^ NEWS, SA (22 April 2022). "On World Book and Copyright Day Read Sant Rampal Ji's Sacred Books". SA News Channel. Retrieved 22 April 2022.