The National Book Foundation, which sponsors the annual National Book Awards, is embracing October as National Book Month, as part of a national effort to raise the profile of reading in American culture.

The new month-long celebration is being planned to coincide with the October 15 announcement of the 20 finalists for the National Book Awards. The National Book Awards ceremony will be held in New York City November 19.

Neil Baldwin, executive director of the National Book Foundation, told PW, "We realized that this is the best time of the year to package everything we do and promote reading as well as the National Book Awards." Baldwin said the new campaign will feature the NBA finalists in a number of events that are still being planned.

"This year marks the 15th anniversary of the creation of the foundation," said Baldwin, "so we want to make our celebration of reading bigger than ever."

National Book Month will feature a variety of promotional events, including a video spot of authors Jonathan Franzen, Sebastian Junger, David Levering Lewis, Janet Evanovich and others that will be shown on Continental Airlines flights. In addition, ads will run in many national publications. Spier New York and IKA spotshot have provided pro bono creative and production work for the campaign. For more information, visit the National Book Foundation Web site at

This isn't the first time the NBF has designated a month for reading. Several years ago, the NBF launched a National Book Week, held in January (and later moved to May); later, the celebration was expanded from a week to a month.