Book Clubs

Content Marketing for Book Clubs

book clubThere are many bits of knowledge you can pass along to book clubs for content marketing. If a group is reading a specific title or an author’s body of work, you can provide discussion questions, author interviews, reviews, etc., to help with their reading experience.

But here’s an idea for content that you can share with your entire bookstore audience.

Poll your book club leaders and find out which selections garnered the best discussions. Customers who read your newsletter, website or blog might take the information to share at their private book clubs, or they might study it to build their personal reading lists.

You can share the information in a “Top 10 List” style, or you can write it as an essay. I would include quotes from your book club leaders. If a book discussion was lively enough to remember, they should be able to provide you with quotable reasons why.

And then at the bottom of the piece in a footnote, include a link to your book club information page, which should contain information about how to join one of your book clubs or how they can order books for their own private book clubs.

One nice thing about this type of content is that you can schedule it on your content calendar at specific intervals throughout the year, depending on the number of book clubs you have to poll. If you have a lot, it could be quarterly. Not so many? Maybe every six months. Even if you send this content at intervals throughout the year, I recommend an end-of-the-year recap where the leaders can reflect on the all of the reads/discussions of the past year.

“Summer of Proust” at Brazos

“Summer of Proust” at Brazos

“When Karl Kilian opened Brazos Bookstore in the spring of 1974, he raced to beat the annual summer exodus as those who could abandoned Houston’s sweltering heat,” writes Jeremy Ellis, General Manager of Brazos Bookstore in Houston, TX. “He opened the store just in time for everyone to say, ‘Hello!’ and flee the city in search of more temperate climes. Left on his own, he had plenty of time to lay on the sofa and read Proust.”

To continue their 40th anniversary celebration, the folks at Brazos Bookstore installed a Proust sofa as a remembrance of things past and a commemoration of the bookstore’s first year. They’re calling it their “Summer of Proust.”

The bookstore has invited customers to lounge on the Proust sofa and read from the books. They’ve even made arrangements with a dessert delivery service to provide madeleines and lime blossom tea throughout the summer.

And to make Proust less intimidating for those who want to tackle it, the Brazos Book Club is reading the new Lydia Davis translation of Swann’s Way over the course of three months.

I’m a big fan of seasonal bookclubs. And I especially love the way Brazos is telling their story through this “Summer of Proust.”

Promoting Online Reading Guides


Warwick’s
in La Jolla, CA, sends out a monthly newsletter for book clubs. In addition to promoting events, store-sponsored book clubs and their upcoming selections, they also have a section that features free online reading guides for book clubs. They explain:

Many of our favorite publishers provide free online reading guides. The following is a list of those websites, along with some of their reading recommendations.

warwicksThen they list the name of the publisher along with that “Publisher Pick of the Month” and a link to the publisher’s website. Although the publisher landing pages feature many more reading group guides, it’s a nice way to call attention to several more titles in the book club newsletter. Warwick’s was able to feature 5 additional titles in their newsletter this way.

Bookclub Wednesday: May 14

Here’s a good mix of fiction and non-fiction releases, for your good mix of fiction and non-fiction book clubs:

Guests on Earth: A Novel by Lee Smith

Lee Smith’s Guests on Earth is a blend of fiction and fact. Zelda Fitzgerald’s last ten years were spent in the psychiatric hospital where she died in the mysterious 1948 fire that claimed nine lives.) Book clubs can find Lee Smith on Facebook and her website is full of great information, including this video of Lee speaking about Guests on Earth.

If You Were Here: A Novel of Suspense by Alafair Burke

Since the hardcover edition of the next Ellie Hatcher novel is coming next month, this is a great time to promote Alafair Burke to your mystery book club. The “books” page on Burke’s website lists the books, plots, and date released. She has more than 5,000 followers on Twitter and more than 10,000 fans on Facebook.

The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean by Philip Caputo

One can become lost on Philip Caputo’s website… in a good way. In addition to videos, articles, and interviews, Philip Caputo maintains a blog. In yesterday’s entry, he writes:

I’ve been thinking a lot about two questions I put to the eighty-odd people I interviewed on the trip: “What holds a country as vast and diverse as the United States together? What puts the unum in the pluribus?” And, “Do you think it’s holding together as well as it used to? Will it continue to?”

Seems like a good book club question to me.

Bookclub Wednesday: New Content for Paperback Releases

Sisterland: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld

Curtis has a really beautiful website. On it you can find discussion questions for Sisterland as well as her other novels, if book clubs like to explore the entire body of her work. She also links to essays and articles she’s written. She’s active on Twitter, so encourage your book clubs to reach out.

Flat Water Tuesday: A Novel by Ron Irwin