Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Today Show Book Club Won’t Help You

When Oprah had her book club, a few dozen selected books over the years saw astronomical sales. That was great for a handful of authors. It didn’t help the vast majority of writers.

The Today Show, with its newly minted book club, is a step in the right direction but falls short of what’s needed on TV. I’d love to see every talk show have a book club. Or even better, let’s see them do daily book reviews the way they review movies.

Whenever books can be in the public debate and on its collective consciousness, we all win.

Over the past decade there has been significant erosion in newspaper book reviews. Behold:

·         Fewer newspapers are published daily.
·         The newspaper has fewer pages dedicated to books.
·         Circulation of print newspapers has dropped.

Granted, online media is making up the difference, but it doesn’t have to be one vs. the other. All media should showcase books -- online, print, television, and radio -- locally, regionally, and nationally.

In the past decade, The Today Show lost more than a third of its audience, partially to competing TV shows and partially due to people simply not tuning into TV and instead busying themselves with a myriad of digital distracters and destinations.

The media is fragmented and fractured. It’ll take more than one TV show to get the dialogue on books going strong, but Today represents a start in the right direction. Will its competitors follow suit? We’ll see.

We need a show dedicated to books -- or even a cable channel doing 24-7 books -- the way entertainment, sports, weather, politics, business, and fashion have gotten attention. Publishers and authors no longer just compete with each other, but with everything else, from Miley Cyrus twerking videos to blog posts to tweets -- all of which are free and endlessly available. Books need to be promoted and front of mind.

Maybe the best place for a book club is the bookstore. Each day a store can host a book blub gathering to discuss book recommendations or to share opinions of what individuals had recently read. Maybe some stores already do this.

The Today Show will no doubt help some authors, but it will take more than one book club to lift the industry to loftier heights. 

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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