The week has been a twitter with the news of @wossy's book club, or #wossybookclub as it is also known, or Jonathan Ross' twitter book club as it is definitely not known. Happily a Picador book was chosen, Jon Ronson's THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS. We decided that to get the book as widely distributed as possible we would zoom the book out in digital editions, both as a subscription access title and as a download. Check out this piece on the Picador blog for more details or go to either Exact Editions or Waterstone's to view or download the book.
There are a few firsts here for us. This is the first time we have ever used a subscription access model. Readers can buy a years worth of online access for cheaper than the price of the book, £4.99 against £7.99. One advantage of this access is that it allows deep linking and so stimulates the kind of conversation book clubs are all about. Like a passage? Then via Twitter, or wherever you are, you can easily direct a distributed set of people to it.
Which brings me on the second first (as it were)- on Sunday between 17.00 and 18.00, in the midst of the bookclub, we will be allowing free access to the work. This should further allow people to discuss, point, link, look, read, flick, browse and comment on the book, recreating the back and forth dynamic of a book club online, with thousands of people involved.
The ebook download means that those who cannot buy the physical book (unprecedented demand means stock has been rapidly disappearing) can at least have a read before the club gets going.
Hopefully this is the correct response to a book club that is not just web native, but entirely twitter native. If ever the future could be said to hit group reading, it has now, and hopefully we can use what is unique about the web- that ability to share, the immediacy- to try and bring something to the bookclub that works for its twitter based format.
We would be interested to know your thoughts on the subscription model, so do get in touch.