Brookline Booksmith offers Small Press Book Club

Themed book clubs are a great way to reach out to a new audience of readers and loyal customers. Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, MA, started a Small Press Book Club in September 2013.

“I wanted to start the book club as a way of highlighting books published by smaller and independent presses that don’t have the big publicity budgets of the larger houses, and to read off the bestseller lists a bit,” Natasha Gilmore told me. Gilmore is the leader of the group as well as buyer for the store. “‘We have a core group of 6-10 people that come regularly but new people show up each time.”

The group meets monthly, and so far their selections have included:

  • Speedboat by Renata Adler
  • The Pushcart Prize anthology
  • Self Unstable by Elisa Gabbert
  • The Fata Morgana Books by Jonathan Littell
  • Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
  • Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm (reprinted by Melville House)
  • The Weirdness by Jeremy Bushnell

“It’s been really fun, and we’ve gotten some really interesting conversations,” said Gilmore.

By selecting a title for a book club, you’re handselling in a way that reaches far beyond the one-on-one book recommendation. Readers often share in conversation what their respective groups are reading, so book club selections receive extra word-of-mouth promotion.

Gilmore likes giving these titles a boost. “We’re able to draw attention to books that–as a bookseller–I would have unfortunately seen go unnoticed before.”

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay