Free Book Day - A charity event in Orimattila where you can take as many books as you want!
The event in a nutshell
Free Book Day is a charity event organised since 2014 in Orimattila by Finlandia Kirja in which, as the name suggests, books are donated completely free to all participants – all without an entrance fee. The event has been growing each year in its participation numbers as well as in the amount of literature that has been given away. In year 2019 approximately 15 000 second-hand books and multiple thousands of new books, for example parts of popular fantasy novel series, donated by Art House were given away. What makes this event special and unique is that there is no limit set to the number of books that can be taken. Most of the participants leave with bags full of books and the most eager load their car only to return to rummage through the mountains of books with a lighter burden.
Time and place
Since the year 2015, Free Book Day has been organised in December in order to give a chance for lower income families to fill up Santa’s sleigh with new and second-hand book gifts in good condition. And because Christmas is the time of giving, we, at Finlandia Kirja, want to give a little Christmas cheer in the form of literature to people. The event was organised in the place of business of Finlandia Kirja between 2014 and 2018 but as the popularity grew, the space became too small. The very successful event of 2019 was organised in Orimattila’s Jymylinna, which had over 5000 participants. In 2020 the event was cancelled due to the Covid situation, but the books reserved for it will be saved for the next event.
The thought behind the event
Finlandia Kirja acquires batches of books from all over Finland – from smaller batches of books to large home libraries. Approximately 200 000 books go through our place of business yearly and we have such a large number of some of them that they cannot be added to our webstore’s selection. We have wanted to save the best ones of these books to be given away for free. The books on the donation tables of Free Book Day are sorted through the whole year, because only the books in good condition and of good quality pass to make most of the literature interesting for the participants. There are second hand as well as new books from different genres. Represented are non-fiction books, novels, and children’s books as well. The goal of the event is to salvage, in the spirit of recycling, as much useful literature as possible to new readers and therefore make the lifecycle of a book longer. We want to also offer people a “risk-free” alternative to delve into different kinds of literature new to them – to try something that you might not purchase otherwise.
We also think that literature belongs to everybody. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to buy books, so our event offers a different alternative to accumulate books in your own bookcase. The books that we give away also represent the most popular writers of the past few years and for example in the crime fiction and thriller section, tables are packed full of the bestsellers of recent years. What also speaks for the quality of the books is that for example in 2019 out of all the literature displayed, 95 % of it “sold”.
In 2019 the event was organised in partnership with Päijät-Häme Joint Authority for Health and Wellbeing's Orimattila Activity Centre that made it possible for many people with special needs to take part in the execution of the event by sorting the books beforehand and organising the coffee service on the day of the event among other things.
Free Book Day in the media in 2019
The event team on Free Book Day in 2019