Bringing e-Readers Into the Discussion
Extra: How do you think the closing of so many physical bookstores will impact the above?
Mead: It's curious—a few years ago, independent bookstores feared that the large chains would put them out of business. Now, one of the largest bookstore chains is closing, and the independent bookstores are still around. The "indies" offer book advice and expertise that readers seem to enjoy. And many of the indies have websites that offer e-books as well as paperbacks and hardcovers. So I think that the indies are adapting to and supporting the current trends, and so are book groups.
Extra: Newer e-readers (such as the Kobo Touch) are incorporating social sharing features into their devices. Do you see this as impacting book group use? More generally, do you see book groups making increasing use of social media?
Mead: Yes, definitely. Book clubs can now share and discuss book passages, get a read on friends' reviews and to-be-read list, and lend e-books—all from the e-reader.
The social integrations coming out for book club are virtually endless. Book clubs are now connecting on Facebook, Ning, Meetup, Squiddo, LibraryThing and other social platforms to discuss books online, and with a wider audience beyond their in-person book clubs.
In 2010, 22.1 percent of reading group members used social networking sites to learn about books to discuss. Of those, most use Goodreads [71.7 percent] and Facebook [66.8 percent].
[Fewer use Library Thing (18.8 percent), Shelfari (17.8 percent) and Twitter (10.2 percent).]
RGC has introduced a variety of new "social" programs like our Author Chats on Facebook to bridge the gap between authors and book clubs, offer book clubs unprecedented access into the lives and work of writers, forging the author-reader bond.
Extra: Are there any other stats from the new study not featured in the press release that you can share?