How are books, book discussion groups and bookstores helped and hindered by virtual communities? That was the question at last week’s #followreader discussion, which has moved to Thursdays for the summer – since many who work in book publishing have short Friday hours.
Our guests were Ami Grecko (aka @ami_with_an_i) of Get Glue, a social media platform that lets people connect around books movies and music, and Patrick Brown (@goodreads) of GoodReads.com, a social networking site for readers, who was formerly a bookseller and blogger at Vromans Bookstore.
Here are some highlights of the hour-long chat:
Advantages of Virtual Communities
@ami_with_an_i: Virtual communities add depth & breadth to book promo & chat because now its easy to find people reading same book in real time
@RichRennicks: I’ve attended a few events in town that I might not have b/c of who Ive seen planning to attend on Facebook.
@Chrisbookarama: I met a local author because of a tweet from her publisher. I wouldn’t have otherwise.
@Chrisbookarama: My bookclub has only met online in the 6 yrs we’ve been together. (Individuals have met face-to-face though.)
@BethFishReads:s On video conference with 8 to 10 ppl, we dont seem to have problems talking for one or two hours.
@Figmentfiction: Online, you listen to people you trust. Instead of ads, you find books by listening to those you respect
When Real Life Communities Move Online
@BethFishReads:I see how online community turns into RL [real life], but do RL communities tend to join online groups?
@RichRennicks: I know several IRL book groups [IRL = “in real life”] who set up Google or Yahoo groups. Inevitably those clusters bleed into Facebook
@JewishLibraries: Sometimes FB or Goodreads groups end up being good centers of communication even for closeknit IRL groups
@goodreads: We have a lot of IRL book clubs that use us for organizing & for realtime (or near) interaction
@JewishLibraries: my book club is small but has 13 chapters nationwide – FB & GR work well for sharing book lists & info.
@goodreads: In our experience, online communities form around local comm., also those around genres can be powerful.
@goodreads: Also seen sites like meetup.com have big impact on bookstore event attendance. Completely organic.
@goodreads: We’d love to enable more IRL interaction for our members. We do swaps, pub crawl, etc. How can we scale them?
Disadvantages of Virtual Communities
@JewishLibraries: is there ever too much talk abt a book online? Is there online promo fatigue?
@goodreads: Biggest hindrance to promotion is often vulnerability of author. Must be able to walk away from negativity.
@ami_with_an_i: Authors *always* needed to be careful re: vulnerability & niceness. Now mistakes are just amped via soc med
@BenRubinstein: I see more fatigue fr overmarketed books in RL, not digitally. Ive seen THE PASSAGE more in RL than online.
@charabbott: What indie stores losing sale when person w/ Kindle browses print book & buys instantly from Amazon?
@charabbott: Re digital readers siphoning sales to Amazon, my concern is indies’ sustainability if they can’t compete
@librarythingtim: Are store kiosks w/ online info part of the answer for real bookstores?
@Copperfields: “store kiosks” as part of the answer?” Nope. People can guide themselves at home. Need a bookseller.
@buriedbybooks: I think the indie neglect of genre readers has caused as many problems for indies as the internet has
@jasonashlock: We don’t yet live in entirely digital world. For all our efforts, human default is incarnation & embodiment