A BID to get schoolkids reading by giving away free books flopped after no-one turned up.

Book-lover Brian McKeown had almost 50 copies of his favourite read - All Quiet on the Western Front - to hand out at Clacton library as part of a million-book giveaway.

He expected to be swamped by budding bookworms after telling local secondary schools about the free offer.

But it ended up being all quiet on the library front after youngsters snubbed the chance.

"The staff bent over backwards to set it up and put the books out," said Mr McKeown, 72.

"We thought we'd have to close the doors to keep people out - but no-one turned up."

Mr McKeown tried to interest a group of teenagers who wandered in.

"One of them turned round and aid he couldn't read and the others said they didn't read books," he said.

"A member of staff said that summed it up."

The literature fan ended up handing out free copies to other people in the library.

"I was annoyed because I'd given up my time," he said.

"I think it's a disgrace. The schools were all aware of it because we rang them up and sent emails.

"I thought I was doing them a favour.

"I was shocked and disappointed but knowing education in Clacton and in this country it probably shouldn't surprise me."

Mr McKeown couldn't believe schools would miss the chance to add free books to their libraries.

"English teachers would have jumped at the chance 25-30 years ago," he said.

All Quiet on the Western Front - by Erich Maria Remarque - describes the horrors of trench warfare during the First World War through the eyes of a German soldier.

Mr McKeown says it's a classic.

"Every generation should read it - we shouldn't forget what happened."