Penguin Random House’s Skip Dye on Multipartner Book the Vote Initiative

On October 12, a group of partners from different corners of the book world launched Book the Vote, a website devoted to combating disinformation and increasing voter turnout this election season. Penguin Random House (PRH), together with freedom of expression nonprofit PEN America, voter participation nonprofit When We All Vote, and literary apparel company Out of Print (owned by PRH), brings a variety of content—videos from PRH authors, relevant titles for all ages, voter registration information, and resources to increase voter engagement and general understanding of civic topics.

Book the Vote logoOn October 12, a group of partners from different corners of the book world launched Book the Vote, a website devoted to combating disinformation and increasing voter turnout this election season. Penguin Random House (PRH), together with freedom of expression nonprofit PEN America, voter participation nonprofit When We All Vote, and literary apparel company Out of Print (OOP) (owned by PRH), brings a variety of content—videos from PRH authors, relevant titles for all ages, voter registration information, and resources to increase voter engagement and general understanding of civic topics.

LJ spoke to Skip Dye, SVP of library sales and digital strategy and SVP director of sales operations at PRH, about the site and what users will find.

LJ: Where did the idea first originate, and how did you assemble the partners?

Skip Dye: We initially launched Book the Vote before the midterm elections in 2018 as a nonpartisan, companywide initiative to encourage voter registration and increase voter turnout. It was exciting to see the positive response from our employees, authors, and accounts. In 2018, our accounts, mainly brick and mortar bookstores, used these tools and our authors to create displays and community nights—all to ignite and inspire citizens’ sense of civic duty to vote.

This year’s Book the Vote program, using the 2018 program as a foundation, unites the partners’ distinct and exciting initiatives under one centralized website, bookthevote.com. PEN America, Out of Print, and When We All Vote are partnering with us. We are the publishing industry’s leading supporter of PEN America, and Out of Print is one of our companies that is widely admired for its book-loving and socially responsible approach to its business, which closely aligns with Penguin Random House values, so it was a natural collaboration.

What part in particular does PRH play?

We have enlisted more than 20 best-selling authors—including Deepak Chopra, Elaine Weiss, and Kyle Creek—to make sense of America’s history and politics through engaging and informative videos based on their books. “How America Works” covers four topics: the Right To Vote, Voting for the President, the Supreme Court, and the Electoral College. “How America Works” episodes are released on Book the Vote’s site and our Instagram, and supplemented on social [media] with “Why I Vote” videos featuring Penguin Random House authors. Our books are also featured on the site to increase understanding of civic topics.

What content do the other partners provide?

[There is] voter registration information from When We All Vote; merchandise from Out of Print’s Get PoLITical collection; and a video from PEN America featuring authors sharing tips on how to stop disinformation this election season.

Are any of the proceeds going toward a cause?

Definitely, yes. Out of Print is the title sponsor for PEN America’s “Free Speech 2020” campaign. Since February, a portion of sales from each OOP’s Get PoLITical collection have been donated to PEN America and its Free Speech 2020 campaign.

What kinds of responses have you seen?

The reach has been impressive and encouraging with this campaign across Book the Vote’s website, dedicated emails, and social media posts. Engaged readers and curious citizens are finding it to be a beneficial resource ahead of the election.

[It’s] exciting to see the positive reception, both in-house and externally, to this campaign. The great thing is the broad interest with all the levels of engagement—in particular email, which has been very strong. Wonderful to see people wanting to be involved and learn more about voting.

Will the site stay up past November 3?

We’ll stop actively promoting the campaign on Election Day, but we’ll continue communicating with the audiences about relevant book promotions and future campaigns.

Penguin Random House is committed to creating a world where independent thinking and free expression flourish, and we will continue to do all we can to protect this fundamental right. It is vital that all Americans share their voice and their power through voting. It is an exciting campaign that has lasting impacts, especially on those new to voting.

Author Image
Lisa Peet

lpeet@mediasourceinc.com

Lisa Peet is News Editor for Library Journal.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?