How to Celebrate World Book Day

Happy World Book and Copyright Day!

Dating back to April 23, 1995, this celebration was started by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. April 23 is the anniversary of the deaths of William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

Each year since 2001, UNESCO chooses a city to act as the World Book Capital. This city then plans events and programs over the next year to promote and foster reading. The World Book Capital for 2018 is Athens, Greece, with the 2019 title going to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

World Book Day is observed in more than 100 countries, so how does the world celebrate?

In Spain, the king and queen present the Cervantes Prize in Alcalá de Henares, the birthplace of the famous writer. About twenty miles away in Madrid, Cervantes’ Don Quixote is read non-stop for 48 hours.

The United Kingdom celebrated World Book Day this year on March 1, with children dressing up as their favorite characters and attending school and community events. Book tokens worth £1 are handed out to children, who then use them to buy books or exchange them for specific World Book Day books.

In other countries, World Book Day is celebrated with special book discounts, costumes, and lots and lots of social media posts about gorgeous libraries.

Here are some ideas for how you can celebrate:

  1. Create a literary scavenger hunt with friends.
  2. Read an entire book today.
  3. Visit your local bookstore and/or library.
  4. Organize your bookshelf.
  5. Dress up as your favorite literary character.
  6. Attend a reading—or host your own.
  7. Download Amazon’s nine free World Book Day Kindle books.
  8. Donate your old books to pass on the gift of reading.
  9. Start a book club or book swap.  
  10. Use your favorite quote as a writing prompt.

Here at New Rivers Press, we’re celebrating by continuing our work of giving a platform to new and emerging voices. How are you celebrating? Let us know in the comments below!

Online Just in Time: Red Weather Taking the World by Storm

New Rivers Press partners with Minnesota State University Moorhead to teach students the ins and outs of publishing, but we aren’t the only literary thing on campus. Many of the staff and interns are also involved with Red Weather, MSUM’s annual journal for prose, poems, and visual art.

This year, Red Weather is doing something a little different. In the past, we’ve only done one (very rarely two) print issues a year. Each one is filled with poems, prose, and visual art. These are all good, of course, but we felt this only captures a small fraction of the artistic talent on our campus and around the world.

Times they are a-changing, and so are we. This fall, we started online editions of Red Weather. These monthly editions allow us to have submission windows open virtually all year and are open to writers and artists worldwide. This first submission window alone, we had submissions from Turkey, Nepal, Russia, and South Korea. We are incredibly excited to give a platform to voices from around the world.

We are also excited to announce that the online editions will accept videos. That’s right—we can publish online things we could never do in a book. If you’re in theater, film, music, animation, or literally anything, you can now film your video or record your performance and submit it to us for consideration. Even if your artistic passion is not one of the categories listed, you can still send us a video of it.

Spoken word? Check.

Pottery making? Check.

Cake decorating? Sure, why not?

The first online edition will be published on our website on October 1. Even better, it’s entirely free! Our second edition, which is Halloween-themed, is currently open for submissions until October 15.

If you would like to submit, you can do so here:

Now go make some art!


To view the previous print editions of Red Weather go here:

Final.2014Issue1.Spine.5625    thirty-five    red-weather-thirty-six-cover

Written by Laura Grimm
Originally posted Sep 19, 2017

Pro-Tips for Textbook Reading


It’s the beginning of the spring semester of college, and we all know what that means: reading. Lots of it. Unfortunately, a lot of this reading tends to be from textbooks, which aren’t always the most interesting. It also cuts down on your time to read for fun. What’s a bookworm to do?


As much as no one likes to admit it, homework comes first. And that means putting off your favorite novel until your assigned reading is finished. Never fear, though; it is still possible to read for fun amidst all your classwork.


The first step is to learn to read faster and more effectively. Many textbooks provide summaries at the end of chapters, and those can suffice if you don’t have enough time to read the entire thing. However, these should be used as a last resort or after you have at least skimmed the chapter. This brings up the second way to reduce your textbook-reading time: skimming. It can be pretty easy to find the main points simply by searching for keywords. Make sure you have a pencil or highlighter on hand. If you can write in the textbook, take advantage of that. If you can’t, take notes on a separate sheet of paper. Another issue with textbooks is that they’re long. I’m assuming you don’t want to be reading them for three hours straight. Break your reading into smaller sections and scatter them throughout the day or do something else for five or ten minutes between readings. Not only will it make it less daunting, but it will also refresh your mind and make it easier to understand each time you start again.


The second step is to accept the fact that you may not be able to read an entire novel in a day anymore. You may be too tired to even get excited by the idea of reading that book you’ve been wanting to read ever since its publication was announced. That’s okay. But if you do still want to read, you probably won’t have as much time for fun reading as you did in the past. You might have to wait until all your homework is done before you can snuggle up with your favorite book. If you still don’t have enough time to do that, you can plan out when to read or use it as a reward after finishing an assignment.


Don’t give up on your reading dreams!

Happy National Novel Writing Month!

I’m sure many of you have heard of NaNoWriMo, but what is it, and how did it even begin? I didn’t know, so I decided to do a little research. What I found is the incredible power of the written word.

First, what exactly is NaNoWriMo? Short for “National Novel Writing Month,” it is exactly what it sounds like. Participants write an entire novel in one month. The event starts at midnight on November 1st and ends at 11:59 p.m. on November 30. That gives you 30 days to write 50,000 words, which is roughly 1,667 words a day. 1,667 words is around seven pages double-spaced. Yeah, that’s a lot. The crazier thing about it though, is that some people manage to do write that much–or more.
The event started in July of 1999 with a group of 21 people who lived around San Francisco Bay. It moved to November the next year (because no one actually does anything in November) and grew to 140 people, some of whom were from other countries. Because of all the new members, some rules needed to be put in place, and many of these rules are still in place today. Media attention caused participation in the third year to explode with a whopping 5,000 participants. This called for a new website and countless other technical things related to the event. Now in year 17, hundreds of thousands of people are furiously writing away this minute from all over the world.

NaNoWriMo also features events throughout the month to help aspiring novelists reach their word count goals. These include “Virtual Write-Ins,” “Word Sprints,” and sessions by authors. The most notable event is The Night of Writing Dangerously, which is a six-hour long event that includes dinner and intense writing, as well as some pretty nifty prizes. You have to earn your right to attend by raising $275 for the nonprofit behind NaNoWriMo, putting it at the top of many NaNo writers’ bucket lists. If you can’t attend any of these events, you can challenge your friends to write-offs and host personal writing parties Too busy in November to participate? No problem! Camp NaNoWriMo is an opportunity to set your own word count goal and try to meet it in April or July.

A few hundred novels written during NaNoWriMo have been published, including Water for Elephants (yes, the movie was based off this) by Sara Gruen and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. It’s entirely possible to write 50,000 words in one short month, and it could very well be the push you need to write that novel knocking around in the back of your head. Don’t be afraid to try, and keep trying until you succeed.

For more information, visit their website:

A Market in Decline? The Misleading Statistics About eBooks


Ebooks. They’re a hot topic these days, especially in the literary world. Many of you may have heard that ebook sales have fallen by 10% this past year as the American Association of Publishers claims ( However, it isn’t as clear-cut as that. The truth is that ebook sales are doing better than ever. The only difference is whose ebooks are selling.

The AAP reports sales for only 1,200 publishers. Their claim that fewer ebooks are selling reflects only their own loss, not everyone else’s. It doesn’t account for self-published ebooks or Amazon imprints, which “make up 58% of all Kindle ebooks purchased in the US” ( Sales for these ebooks are increasing, and they have been for years. This isn’t something that big publishers are happy about; it’s something that scares them.

How did this happen? Basically, it all breaks down to money. In 2010, big publishers were finally allowed to set prices for their own books, not Amazon. It seemed like a good plan for them at the time, but it has had drastic effects since. Many ebooks from Big Five publishers (Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster) are about equal in price to their paperback counterparts. Readers aren’t going to pay the same price for a digital book as they would for a print one, especially when studies show that many of these readers prefer reading in print ( Self-published ebooks, on the other hand, are usually sold for $0.99 to $2.99 and are often free for a period of time. Independent publishers tend to sell their ebooks for around $6.99, which is still half the cost of a print book.

The publishing industry is changing. More and more people are choosing to self-publish, meaning that there are more books flooding the market. This is both good and bad. It’s good because it eliminates some of the barriers that prevent great books from being published. However, it’s also bad because it makes it harder for authors to make a living off their writing. Ebooks are priced so low in an effort to draw in sales, but the price is too low to make a large profit unless the book turns into a bestseller, which is only a low percentage of the hundreds of books released every day.

In the end, what can be done? Well, not much. New technologies tend to overtake and change existing systems. Remember newspapers? Magazines? Many have declared bankruptcy or started online-only editions. It’s simply too hard to stay the same in a world of change.

So how will the publishing industry look in ten years? No one knows. What’s for certain is that ebooks have and will continue to have a great effect on it. The publishing industry will not die, it will simply need to learn to adapt.