paidContent recently posted an article explaining the newest venture for Bethanne, ShelfAwareness’s Enlightenment for Readers, the new newsletter offered by the popular trade publication. You can read the full article from paidContent here.
The word “discoverability,” when used in the book publishing context, tends to focus on how readers can find authors and books that are new to them. But another part of the discoverability challenge is how readers can find authors and books that are new to the world, as in recently or soon-to-be published. As brick-and-mortar bookstores close and newspaper book review sections fold, it’s harder to stumble across publishers’ latest offerings.
A new, free online newsletter for consumers, titled Shelf Awareness: Enlightenment for Readers—from the editors ofShelf Awareness—aims to introduce everyday readers to the best new books. And while that sounds like an obvious goal, the fact is that it is much easier for consumers to learn about upcoming movies and music than it is for them to learn about new books. “Movie houses put up their trailers many months in advance and show previews every time you’re at the movies,” says Jenn Risko, Publisher of Shelf Awareness. “You start seeing ads on iTunes for upcoming albums in advance and they usually release the hit song before the whole album….I’ve wished for a long time that I knew what was cool and new [in books]. This is our answer to that.”
“The reviews will be honest, but they’ll be positively honest,” says Bethanne Patrick, consumer editor of the new publication, “not because we’re against running critical or negative reviews but because we’re trying to set up the 25 best books for people to pay attention to in their local bookstore. That’s the goal behind it. We’re not reviewing everything and we’re not trying to do critical analysis.” However, reviews of exceptional books will be starred, “in recognition that it often takes a starred review for a library or bookstore to stock a title.”
Shelf Awareness: Enlightenment for Readers also aims to differentiate itself from Kirkus and PW by the backgrounds of its over 60 freelance reviewers, who include booksellers, critics, book bloggers, and librarians with “great street cred” in a variety of genres. The reviewers are paid more than the reviewers forKirkus or PW. Patrick and book review editor Marilyn Dahl will select the books to be included each week.