Simon & Schuster Latches onto Podcast Trend With Launch of "Paper Donkey"
Last week Simon & Schuster announced a new podcast created in partnership with CBS Radio's Play.it podcast network. The podcast "Paper Donkey" will feature interviews with famous editors and authors about how books are created and how editors help bring authors' vision to life. “We want to give people the chance to eavesdrop on the real conversations that go on between writers and editors, as a way of illuminating and demystifying the way books happen,” says Jonathan Karp, president and publisher of the Simon & Schuster Publishing Group in a press release. “We promise listeners a window into the imagination, impulses, and innards of the publishing world.” The new podcast will be hosted by Victoria Taylor, director of digital community at coworking company WeWork.
The first episode of "Paper Donkey" features author Rebecca Traister and her editor Marysue Rucci, who discuss the making of Traister's All the Single Ladies, a Simon & Schuster title.
The podcast launch is part of a larger movement among book publishers to develop original content about the books they create and the authors who write them. This original content can help publishers build a captive audience that they can then market and sell books to directly. Podcasting will likely be a powerful tool in the book marketer's arsenal for growing audience. Malcolm Gladwell, for example, has generated greater sales for his books and other authors since the launch of his popular podcast, "Revisionist History." The podcast, which is ranked in the top 200 podcasts on iTunes as of October 31, 2016, highlights Gladwell's favorite books in a promotional portion of the podcast and drives new readers to Gladwell's works.
Penguin Random House U.K. has also invested heavily in podcasts, launching "The Penguin Podcast" in 2015 to help readers discover new books. "The Penguin Podcast," like "Paper Donkey," interviews authors about the inspiration behind their books. The podcasts are posted to the newly revamped Penguin Random House U.K. website and drive listeners to purchase the book discussed in each episode.
It's very likely that 2017 will usher in many more bookish podcasts as publishers look for new ways to market their authors and their works.
Related story: 3 Things Book Publishers Can Learn From the Podcast Model
Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.