From Publishers Weekly, 5/23/05 (Yes, it's old. I pulled it out to read later and uh, forgot about it.)
"Reads Well With Others" by Bill Goldstein.
Using Adraina Trigiani as an example, the article explores the new synchronicity between publishers and book buyers via book or reading clubs, with some help from booksellers. Trigiani meets on average with four book clubs a week by phone and considers it part of her job. Other authors are following suit.
"Emboldened by their growing power to turn books into bewstsellers — and extend the sales life of titles far beyond that of most bestsellers — reading groups are making demands and transforming the way publishers, booksellers and authors market titles. It's as if the readers most vital to publishers and booksellers — the dedicated book buyer looking for at least one new book a month and hoping to talk about it with a dozen or more friends who will therefore need to buy it too — have unionized, forming little locals around the country and doing a kind of collective bargaining on behalf of their members. They've asked for and received reading group guides, other supplementary material, and, most of all, direct access to writers through book-club tours, in-store appearances and remote visits via -mail or phone."Statistics were citing, mainly the success of A. Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran, Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, and K. Hosseini's The Kite Runner, all of which got big boosts from word of mouth and their popularity with book clubs.
"Today, many reading group members troll the internet for information about authors and books in order to plan their selections up to a year in advance."I guess those author websites are a good idea, eh?
"The rise of reading groups' importance coincides with the shrinking of space devoted to reviews and other book coverage in many publications, making these clubs all the more crucial to publishers..."There's more! According to the article, readers sign up in the thousands for publishers' emailed newsletters and have been asking for and are starting to receive advanced reading copies or gallies. There is much more direct contact between book buyers and publishers and between book buyers and authors. I even signed up for Minette Walters' newsletter and I subscribe to a feed for Michael Marshall Smith's news updates.