Boyd Tonkin's article in the Independent argues that the #wossybookclub is a distraction from what books are all about. Many readers I'm sure agree; Twitter, blogging and all the rest of it might not be everyone's cup of tea. However I think there is something to be said for it. Jon Ronson was very positive and we got an extremely enthusiastic response from readers.
Firstly a clarification. We gave free web access, for a limited period, not a download. This meant that you could link to specific pages relevant to the discussion. We felt this was better for online reading groups because you can't do this with a download and there was no danger that the work would be pirated.
The argument here is basically that all of this Twitter stuff is a distraction from the real business of publishing, that publishers should be less beholden to trends. Rather than following, publishers should be setting the agenda. We really couldn't agree more with that sentiment, but believe that engaging with new forms of communication is the best way of doing it.
All of us want a vibrant future for reading, and we hope to be wherever that is.