The Give and Take of Book Club Interaction

George Spaulding, bookseller and mystery group coordinator at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, VT, sent a note to his fellow Mystery Book Club members yesterday. In it, he asked for feedback on whether the group would be willing to change the meeting date from March 31st to April 7th to avoid the conflict of opening day of Major League Baseball. He had also promised the group at their previous meeting a list of all of the books that the group had read since its inception in February 2008. That impressive list (two books a month!) was also included in the note.

I was completely charmed by his email and want to join the Bear Pond Books Mystery Book Club, even though I live nowhere near Vermont.

In terms of marketing, there are two things Bear Pond Books did really well:

  1. Communication. Do you collect the names of those who attend? Even if you welcome drop-ins, it’s a good idea to ask participants if they’d like to receive book club updates. You can do this either through a Facebook group page or, like Bear Pond Books, by maintaining an email list.
  2. The list of books read. There are several reasons to post a list of book club selections. One is for potential participants auditioning a book club. If they can see a list of past reads, it will let them know if their reading tastes mesh with the group. But another reason is to give participants a sense of accomplishment. It might take a little bit of research, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll be able to pull it together. And if you’re missing some months, look to your own reading lists or those of your customers. You could probably even turn to sales data.

Once you’ve compiled and posted the reading history of your various book clubs, the most difficult part will be remembering to update it. (I speak from experience here. I was the worst at remembering to do this at Watermark.) Here’s a 300 second fix for that.

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