World Book Day 2020: Current Theme, History and Significance

World Book Day 2020: Amidst COVID-19 most of the schools and colleges around the world are closed and people are not spending their time outside. Therefore, this the time to use the power of books in combating isolation, reinforcing ties between people, expanding our horizons by using mind and creativity. World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated on 23 April to promote reading, publishing and copyright. Let us read more about World Book Day, its history, 2020 theme, and significance.
Created On: Apr 23, 2020 11:47 IST
Modified On: Apr 23, 2020 11:47 IST
World Book Day
World Book Day

World Book Day 2020: It is also known as World Book and Copyright Day. The World Book Capital 2020 is Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. The day is celebrated by UNESCO and other related organisations across the world to honour authors, books worldwide, to promote the art of reading etc.

World Book Day: History

UNESCO has selected 23rd April as World Book Day to pay tribute to great literary figures including William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega who died on this day. Let us tell you that the connection between 23rd April and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Spain to honour Miguel de Cervantes who died on this day. In 1995, this date was finalised by the UNESCO General Conference, held in Paris, to pay tribute and honour authors and books worldwide.

What is Copyright?

It is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving authors or creators of original work exclusive rights usually for a limited time. Basically, it is the right to copy. It also gives the copyright holder the right to be credited for the work and other, related rights. So, it is an intellectual property form.

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World Book Day 2020: Theme/Message

According to the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, the theme/message of 2020 sums up in these words: "Books have the unique ability both to entertain and to teach. They are at once a means of exploring realms beyond our personal experience through exposure to different authors, universes and cultures, and a means of accessing the deepest recesses of our inner selves."

In 2019, it was “Books are a form of cultural expression that lives through and as part of a chosen language. Each publication is created in a distinct language and is intended for a language-specific reading audience. A book is thus written, produced, exchanged, used and appreciated in a given linguistic and cultural setting. This year we highlight this important dimension because 2019 marks the International Year of Indigenous Languages, led by UNESCO, to reaffirm the commitment of the international community in supporting indigenous peoples to preserve their cultures, knowledge and rights.”

World Book Day: Purpose

On this occasion, worldwide tribute is given to books and authors and also to encourage people to discover the pleasure of reading. This will generate respect for those who have made irreplaceable contributions to social and cultural progress. The UNESCO Prize for Children's and Young People's Literature in the Service of Tolerance is awarded. Also, this day will increase understanding among people regarding copyright laws and other measures to protect intellectual copyright.

No doubt this day become a platform for people across the world and especially the stakeholders of the book industry including authors, publishers, teachers, librarians, public and private institutions, humanitarian NGOs and the mass media to come together to promote literacy and help everyone to have access to educational resources.

World Book Day 2020: Celebrations

This day celebrations focuses on literature and reading particularly emphasise on the importance of enhancing and protecting Indigenous languages. UNESCO has been effectively committed towards indigenous people since the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (link is external) in September 2007 and continues to work towards better recognition of their rights. UNESCO also supports local communities to promote and preserve their knowledge and language. Knowledge is never waste, and it is said that the book brings people together around a story and a common heritage while revealing their specificities through different cultures, identities and languages.

This year the celebration goes online. To maintain the celebrations of books and reading, the World Book Capital is selected bu the UNESCO and other organisations representing publishers, booksellers and libraries. Kuala Lumpur is the UNESCO's World Book Capital 2020 officially recognised with an online launch celebration of 2020. 

Generally, we won't get time to read on our own or with the children. As per the current situation where the whole world is fighting with COVID-19, it is time to realise the importance of reading, foster the growth of children's as readers and generate a lifelong love of literature. Through reading and the celebration of World Book and Copyright Day, we can open ourselves to others despite of distance, and we can travel via imagination.

World Book Day: Symbols

Every year posters are designed and circulated around the world to promote books, reading, understanding etc. In the poster images are designed in a way to encourage people, particularly children, to read books and appreciate literature. In fact, the logo is also mentioned for World Book and Copyright Day. 

So, World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated on 23rd April to encourage people about books, reading, to understand copyright laws and measures to protect intellectual copyright.

Source: Unesco.org

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