I joined forces with another "giver" who had received her books and we gave our titles - The Spy Who Came in from the Cold - at a special showing of the film of the same name. Except they were furtively handed over by a fairly unconvincing looking spy wrapped in a brown paper bag marked "World Book Night 2011. Classified papers. Authorised readers only. TOP SECRET". We also gave away a mixed box of the 25 titles and toasted World Book Night with some sparkly stuff. In what way could this be bad for bookselling?
The doubters are meantime arguing whether giving away, say, tens of thousands of copies of Toast will lead to better sales of the book in the long run. No, WBN was not about whether Toast shares will go up 3% or down 3% but whether you can get people excited about books. It worked.