Back to the Basics of social networking

Booksquare has a wonderful article today on publishers getting back in touch with their readers and diving into social networking. They cite that "Books are social. Reading, usually, is a solitary endeavor (though I still think back to dinners where my mom read stories about King Arthur to us while we ate). Books, however, invite conversation. The continued popularity of book clubs is not just about the wine; it’s the fact that people love to get together and talk about books (also, gossip about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)." Yes indeedy. The many many reader forums and blogs are filled with book lovers who are sharing thoughts, ideas and reviews about books they've read and loved recently. Old favorites as well as new are discovered.

I still remember a few years ago when I was watching Book TV. There was this panel of book critics that were talking down to bloggers and the new media critics because they thought they were "amateur" and basically stealing their well earned jobs. How it was well earned boggled my mind because movie critics and book critics of top newspapers and such are just sharing their opinion on things just like anyone else. Now with the web, bloggers and readers have the chance to interact with people who share their same tastes in things so they know what they're getting from a new book or movie.

Now the Amazon book genre forums among the other products are filled with readers and writers all talking about what they don't like about certain genres, what should change and what doesn't work. Publishers would learn a lot if they peruse those boards as well as interact with their own readers.

All of this distribution middle man between wholesellers, bookstores, book buyers, marketers, and so on has made them a little lax in getting back in touch directly with the very people they're marketing toward. But some publishers (like Little, Brown and Co.) are getting back to the basics of social networking according to Booksquare's article:

I love what Little, Brown and Co are doing on Twitter: talking about books and engaging readers (they get bonus points for the frequent offers of review copies to people). I think it’s amazing that publishers like Unbridled Books make it a point to reach out and talk to people like me on a regular basis — even the business contacts have a personal flavor.

Pan Macmillan has a team of really smart bloggers talking about the future, as does HarperStudio, via their blog “The 26th Story”. Harlequin Twitters, blogs, and maintains a robust, interactive website, not to mention constant blogger outreach. We’re seeing publishers like Dzanc Books and booksellers like Vroman’s use tools on Facebook to connect with readers.

Authors are getting hip to it also with the massive amounts of yahoo groups geared with authors and readers in mind. Sites like Night Owl Romance, Coffee Time Romance, The Romance Studio and all offer a wonderful outlet for readers to find new and favorite romance writers. The best thing is these outlets are open to both epub, small press, and the big presses.

In face of the 'adapt or die' challenge presented on some blogs, looks like there are definitely some publishers learning to adapt with the new technologies presented by the epublishers and small presses.


Zoe Winters said...

I think this is a very exciting time!

Rae Lori said...

Indeed! :-D