It used to be that bookstores and publishers supported author readings as part of a set of publicity strategies aimed at getting books into the reading public’s hands. But what happens when those physical books disappear (and therefore bookstores? and publishers?) and we have one device that can accommodate any text? Well, turns out the device manufacturers step in. Through , I learned that Kobo would be sponsoring an event featuring Gregrory Levey and and Rachel Shukert tomorrow night in Toronto. That got me thinking: what are the fundamental differences between the publisher/bookseller hosted/sponsored event or publicity strategy and one sponsored through a universal reading device like Kobo? Is there a difference, or are the players just changing? I asked Kobo for comment how what they’re doing is different or similar, and here’s what I got:
At one level, we come at this as booksellers — we want to. But more and more we’re starting to explore the social side of reading. We’re asking questions like: in a world where every store has every book, is the best store the one with the most interesting readers, connected in the most interesting ways? By connecting them, can they find books they otherwise would never have found? Or read a book more deeply? Don’t get me wrong — there are plenty of times when reading is totally immersive, solitary and focused. But other times, reading is about ideas that want to be shared or fought over or debated. With us, those debates can rage around the pages themselves, as they’re being read. We can connect those readers in a way that no publisher or bricks & mortar bookseller ever could.”
EVP Content, Sales & Merchandising
Interesting wrinkle #1: Ben McNally’s will be on hand at this event to sell paper books while Kobo presumably hopes to sell ebooks. Ben’s a big guy, Michael. Better watch out.