Sunday Salon: A twist on book clubs that I don’t really buy into


Here’s an idea: Via Shelf Awareness, I read about an online book club that would charge members $15-$30 for such privileges as being supplied with ARCs four to six months in advance of publication and participating in author chats – and supposedly, publishers are receptive to it. This endeavor is being launched on a pilot basis by the women’s website wowOwow.com and was the subject of a Forbes.com story last week.

I couldn’t really find any information about the “Book Look” group on wowOwow’s own site, but the Forbes.com post quotes wowOwow’s Joni Evans, a former publishing executive. She says that publishers like the idea that in addition to creating buzz, book-club members could double as a focus group for pre-publication marketing concepts. The club’s first selection is Jodi Picoult’s next novel, scheduled for March 2011 publication.


I’m still sorting out my reactions to this concept, but

  • My first response was “How is this different from selling ARCs?” (I’m not clear whether the cost to members would be per book or for a set period of time.)
  • My second thought was “Hey, don’t book bloggers essentially do this already (even if no one’s making money on it)?”
  • That led to my third thought: “Who IS making money on this, anyway – the website, the publisher, or both? And what will the author get out of it?”
  • Fourth thought: “They need to ‘create buzz’ for a Jodi Picoult novel?” Regardless of whether she gets enough attention from the New York Times, the woman sells books.
  • Fifth though: “Clearly, no book bloggers were involved in this conversation…”

What do y’all think of this? I see potential for stirring up quite a bit of unrest among readers and booksellers, as well as between publishers and book bloggers. Honestly, though, I don’t think book bloggers are the constituency for this effort – for one thing, I’m pretty sure we are not about to start paying for galleys! Then again, how might it affect what we do if there are people who are willing to buy ARCs, along with other less tangible “member benefits”? Am I reading this all wrong?

And speaking of reading:
Recent Reviews
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart

Upcoming Reviews


New arrivals in TBR Purgatory
For review:
Unstoppable in Stilettos: A Girl’s Guide to Living Tall in a Small World, by Lauren Ruotolo (from publisher, via TLC Book Tours)
How to Raise Your Adult Children (Because Big Kids Have Even Bigger Problems), by Gail Parent and Susan Ende (via publicist, BlueDot Literary)


For me. relocated from the Wishlist:
Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women, by Harriet Reisen
A Friend of the Family, by Lauren Grodstein 
Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays, by Zadie Smith


For me, for no particular reason:


Currently Reading:
Outside the Ordinary World by Dori Ostermiller (TLC Book Tour)
An Election for the Ages: Rossi Vs. Gregoire, 2004 by Trova Heffernan (Eco-Libris Green Books Day)

It’s Halloween – treat yourself to some reading time today!

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