Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Book clubs

Are you one of many who’ve read such books as The Kite Runner, Water for Elephants, Eat, Pray, Love, or The Memory Keeper’s Daughter? Have you ever thought about how these books have shot to the top of best-seller lists and attained commercial success? Have you read one of these books and really needed to discuss it with others, or are you one of the lucky ones who’ve encountered these books in a book club?

While book clubs are nothing new, their prevalence and influence on the publishing industry is. Books like The Kite Runner owe much of their success to the promotion by book clubs. Publishers are sitting up and taking notice, often sending boxes of preview copies to book club coordinators, hoping that a few of the new books will become the next Eat, Pray, Love. The traditional author tour is being replaced by visits, phone calls, and web chats between authors and book club members.

People from all over the country are starting up book clubs, and millions more read the monthly selection from the most famous book club coordinator of them all, Oprah. When I lived on the tiny Caribbean island of Nevis, there were several book clubs to join, even though there was often only one copy of the book for all the members to share!

If you’re interested in starting a book club, Book Clubs Resource has a wealth of information. If you already belong to a book club, Book Group Expo will help you take the next step. AuthorBuzz has a variety of tools to find out about good book club reads and author information. And to read up more on the changes book clubs have brought about in the publishing industry, read Joanne Kaufman’s piece in the November 19th New York Times.

The LaFarge Branch has a Mystery book club that meets at 10:00 am on the 3rd Monday of each month, and a Detective Agency book club that meets in the afternoons on the 3rd Monday. The Friends Book Group meets the 2nd Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at Main, and the Teen Book Club meets at the Southside Branch every other Thursday at 4:00 pm. And, of course, check with your local branch to get a copy of your book club’s latest pick.
Posted by AM at Southside

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