There’s a lot of talk these days about the seismic changes in the publishing business. What’s discussed less are the changes to the social aspect of reading and the increasingly social ways people interact over books. And this social component is even driving the way books are marketed, both by publishers and by authors themselves.I had been speaking to book clubs for about six months when I encountered a club that had been meeting for 28 years. For nearly three decades, these women had met monthly and dissected the popular literary reads of the day.When I arrived to discuss my novel and writing process, they were armed with thoughtful questions. There was an impressive spread of food. There was also an Excel spreadsheet of all the books they’d covered month after month, minus August and December, for nearly three decades.Once I began asking other authors about their experiences with book clubs, I found out this was not the anomaly I’d thought it was. There was the book club that went to France after reading Sandra Gulland’s historical trilogy and the one that flew to Denver to have dinner with author Carleen Brice and tour the city in which the book was set. Then there was the club Kate Ledger visited that had gone above and beyond making a dish evocative of the novel they discussed monthly — they published a cookbook of their years of literary-inspired dishes, and donated the proceeds to a favorite charity. Matthew Dicks visited a club that kicked off his visit with a game of Jeopardy with questions based on his novels.But the most ambitious I’ve encountered yet is a Florida book club headed by a woman named Jennie Blue who throws a grand luncheon every year or so, called Mama Francina’s Fancy Hat Literary Luncheon in honor of her aunt. Blue flies the author into town and picks up all expenses, and hosts a lunch at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island to entertain and educate about 40-50 guests — whose millinery rivals attendees of the Kentucky Derby — with an afternoon of author conversation, plus extras like musical tributes and theatrical performances of scenes from the book.
André Beukes is an EU Management Consultant to international companies doing business in Europe.
He provides clients with practical business support that makes a real difference doing business in the EU.
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