Virtual Book Events To Keep You and Your Patrons Connected

Shutdowns due to COVID-19 continue, but virtual book talks, author interviews, and other book-related activities, from cooking demonstrations to book clubs, abound. The following events from publishers and others in the book ecosystem can be shared with patrons or viewed by librarians with an eye toward collection development and readers' advisory.

Shutdowns due to COVID-19 continue, and though in-person events are few and far between, virtual book talks, author interviews, and other book-related activities, from cooking demonstrations to book clubs, abound. Though nothing can replace face-to-face contact, publishers are nevertheless excited about online offerings such as the Adult Library Marketing Association’s (ALMA) Bite-Size Book Buzzes. Annie Mazes, chair of ALMA and senior manager, adult library & academic, at Workman Publishing, noted, “With the loss of in-person events, Bite-Size Book Buzzes were born so the publishers could have the illusion of engagement with our sorely missed librarians. I am happy to say they have been met with much love and appreciation, and for that we are incredibly grateful! We look forward to starting them up again in September."

Likewise, librarians have appreciated the transition. Jennifer Schultz, collection services development librarian, Fauquier County Public Library, VA, told LJ, “I've been a regular fan of webinars/online sessions for many years, but they and other online events have taken on even greater necessity.” She’s found Penguin Random House’s (PRH) Morning Buzz and the online BookExpo most valuable. She added, “Attending author interviews is, frankly, not a good use of my work time. However, attending events in which titles of upcoming books are thrown at me are—especially if it's done in an engaging and entertaining manner.”

See below for an assortment of events by publishers and others in the book ecosystem both on their own and in partnership with bookstores and libraries. These can be shared with patrons, maybe as the foundation to a homegrown virtual discussion group, as well as viewed by librarians with an eye to collection development, readers’ advisory, and gleaning tips on how to create virtual book talks and local author interviews of their own.

 

Screen grab of a virtual book buzz hosted by the Adult Library Marketing Association
An ALMA Bite-Size Book Buzz, hosted May 12. Clockwise, from top left: Golda Rademacher, library sales and marketing director, W.W. Norton; Annie Mazes, senior manager, adult library & academic, Workman; Melissa Nicholas, director of account marketing, Hachette; Erica Melnichok, senior library marketing manager, Penguin Random House; Anna-Lisa Sandstrum, senior sales manager, Chronicle Books.

 

Abrams

Abrams has a number of author events, hosted by bookstores, libraries, and other institutions, in the coming months; upcoming authors include Libby Copeland (The Lost Family: How DNA Is Upending Who We Are), who will be speaking at St. Cloud Area Genealogists, MN; Kanawha County Library, Charleston, WV, and the Omaha Public Library, among other locations. Follow Abrams on Twitter for upcoming events, and check out a video of Derf Backderf discussing his graphic novel Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio.

ALMA

ALMA’s weekly Bite-Size Book Buzzes gave representatives from various publishers the opportunity to discuss upcoming titles on YouTube every Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET. Though the Book Buzzes are on hiatus now, they’ll be continuing this fall, starting September 15.

Baker & Taylor

Baker & Taylor has partnered with Sourcebooks to offer virtual library book clubs. Libraries that sign up for the program get special multiuser pricing on certain titles, discussion guides and other materials, access to virtual author events, and more. Two book clubs are available: Murder at the Library, aimed at adults (September’s title is Jane Stanton Hitchcock’s Bluff), and Teen Book Club (September’s title is Marieke Nijkamp’s This Is Where It Ends).

Bloomsbury

Starting in May, Bloomsbury began hosting Facebook Live conversations between authors and editors for frontlist and backlist titles. Those who missed previous discussions, such as one between White Rage author Carol Anderson speaking with editor Nancy Miller, and a chat between No Visible Bruises author Rachel Louise Snyder and editor Callie Garnett, will also find archived conversations here.

The publisher also has arranged author events hosted by bookstores, libraries, festivals, and other institutions; a list of upcoming talks can found on its website.

Chicago Review Press

The publisher posts upcoming author talks, hosted by bookstores, libraries, and other institutions. Future events include talks by E. Dolores Johnson (Say I’m Dead) and Stephen J.C. Andes (Zorro’s Shadow).

Hachette

Hachette lists upcoming virtual author talks, hosted by bookstores and other institutions. Future events include talks from Martha S. Jones (Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All), Lisa Levenstein (They Didn’t See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Feminism in the Nineties), and Natasha Lester (The Paris Secret).

HarperCollins

HarperCollins’s Library Love Fest team is hosting twice-weekly Facebook Live programs. Episodes usually feature an author and sometimes an editor; other times they spotlight a marketing director or publicist discussing upcoming titles, and sometimes the Library Love Fest team just gathers to chat about books. The events stream on Zoom and are fed through the Library Love Fest Facebook page.

Past events have included an interview with actor and activist Marlo Thomas and her husband, talk show pioneer Phil Donahue, who spoke about their book What Makes a Marriage Last, as well as Aimee Molloy, who, joined by her editor and her agent, spoke last month about Goodnight Beautiful. Check out previous videos on the Library Love Fest Facebook page or its YouTube channel.

Macmillan

Macmillan hosts Mac Lib from Home, a series of brief videos, posted to Twitter, in which members of the library marketing team chat about books they’re excited about. Follow Macmillan’s library marketing team on Twitter for new videos, or check out previous ones on the Mac Lib from Home site. The Macmillan library marketing site also includes author interviews, webinars on new books, and Staff Picks Happy Hour (Happy Hours are also archived on Macmillan’s YouTube channel).

Penguin Random House

Start your Wednesdays with Penguin Random House Marketing’s Morning Book Buzz every week for about an hour at 11 a.m. ET on Webex. The members of PRH’s marketing team chats about titles they’re excited about, and often invite authors; previous guests have included Carmen Maria Machado and Laurie Halse Anderson. After each episode, PRH posts archived videos, ISBN spreadsheets, and slide decks, and librarians get a participation certificate after attending the webinar. Librarians are encouraged to tweet about the episodes with the hashtag #PRHMorningBuzz. If you’ve missed previous webinars, find them on PRH’s YouTube channel.

PRH also hosts Borrow. Read. Repeat. Live, a monthly webinar that highlights new and forthcoming titles, aimed at patrons.

Random

A recent publishing-TV partnership means a new obsession for crime fans as Random House and Investigation Discovery (ID), a true crime TV channel, present a book club that each quarter spotlights two titles and invite readers to discuss them on Twitter, via the hashtag #IDBookClub. This quarter’s selections are Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman’s Half Moon Bay and Janelle Brown’s Pretty Things. Users who visit the site will find author interviews, ID programs, and book recommendations.

Simon & Schuster

Last spring, Simon & Schuster launched a site that lists author events, both those created by the publisher and those hosted by libraries or bookstores. Featured authors have included Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman (Big Friendship), Megan Collins (Behind the Red Door), and Saeed Jones (How We Fight for Our Lives). Public libraries are invited to contact the Book Clubs Favorites program to ask about authors who are available to attend virtual book club chats.

Tuttle

Tuttle offers a variety of events and activities aimed at children, adults, and families. Check out an Instagram interview with Hector Garcia, instructions for folding an origami elephant, and cooking demonstrations from chef and author Katie Chin, hosted by New York Live and the Asia Society. Tuttle also lists authors and illustrators who can do virtual library visits; contact Tuttle for more information.

Workman

Check out Workman’s website for upcoming talks from authors from the publisher's Artisan division, hosted by bookstores and other institutions. Previous events include a food memoirs reading group and live demonstrations by James Beard Award–winning chefs and authors.

W. W. Norton & Company

W.W. Norton lists upcoming author events, both those hosted by the publisher and by bookstores and other institutions. Check out Norton’s Facebook page or follow its library marketing Twitter account to learn about future events, such as a Zoom chat with Ian Toll and John McManus and Nick Flynn in conversation with Paul Lisicky.

Author Image
Mahnaz Dar

Mahnaz Dar (mdar@mediasourceinc.com) is an Associate Editor for Library Journal, and can be found on Twitter @DibblyFresh.

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