When it comes to giving away free books, the people of Hamilton are in the top 10 percent in the nation.

A new program to coincide with the worldwide celebration of The International Day of the Book has grabbed valley readers' attention, according to Chapter One Book Store owner Shawn Wathen. It's called "World Book Night" and people simply sign up to give away books on April 23rd. The movement started in Great Britain last year, where a million books were given away.

American publishers, authors and distribution companies made 30 titles available with the million book goal. They managed to line up a half-million giveaways this year, and Hamilton responded overwhelmingly, with about 900 books sent to Chapter One, putting Hamilton in the top 10 percent of per capita "givers."

The Hamilton book store will hold the books for the individuals, many of whom will pick them up Wednesday evening April 18 during a get-together at the store. Then, next Monday, April 23rd, those people will give away the books to whomever they want.

The titles are varied - from science fiction to non-fiction to young adult. And this year's givers are entitled to help choose next year's titles for World Book Night 2013.

April 23rd is already an important "book" day. It is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, to honor legendary authors Shakespeare and Cervantes, who both died April 23, 1616. Coincidentally, it's also the anniversary of Shakespeare's birthday.