Official book godfather (or something) Jörg Pfuel is interviewed in trade mag Börsenblatt talking about the new German initiative for World Book Day, called Lesefreunde, which he admits is utterly plagiarised from the UK. But they do have permission.
So the idea is, lots of publishers give away zillions of copies of 25 specific books. You can see the titles behind the second link above, this time chosen by the publishers themselves, although Pfuel says they plan to get readers more involved in the selection process next time. I rather like the variety, and if you compare them to the UK list, you'll note that the choice is more international, unsurprisingly. I remember wondering why on earth it was called World Book Night at all, actually, seeing as it took place in a single country and gave away books written in a single language. But this year the Brits get Paul Coelho and John Ajvide Lindqvist too. So that's all right then.
The German initiative is now looking for 33,333 Joe and Johanna Bloggses to actually hand out the goods on 23 April. I believe you're supposed to give them to people who don't usually read, and I'm very tempted to join in. Especially because I'm celebrating my birthday around then and I could give other people presents instead of the other way around. I could have a big party and everyone would sit down in the corners and start reading. Perhaps not terribly communicative. The only problem would be lugging 25 books home from the bookshop or library where you have to pick them up.