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Borders Online Book Club

Maybe I’m not part of the target audience but I have to admit I don’t get the online book club Borders recently launched. According to this brief article in The Book Standard, “readers can go online to view videos of an actual group of readers discussing new books.” Huh? Is this primarily for loners who can’t form their own club?

How about turning this into a truly interesting idea which would drive even more traffic to their stores? Let’s start with the fact that every Borders store is already equipped with multiple PCs; I use them on just about every visit to see if a particular book is in stock. Why not spend $25 and add a webcam to one in each store and turn this book club into a live event with participants from every location? Interested customers could gather around the computer and ask the author questions, right from the comfort of their local store. Yes, this would require a moderator. Yes, this would require someone to pull chairs around one of the computers in each store. (Actually, why not spend a bit more on a projector and turn this into a much larger chain-wide opportunity?) The live sessions could be archived for later viewing by anyone who didn’t get a chance to participate in the actual event.

I don’t see myself participating in their current book club program but I would definitely be interested in the enhanced version proposed above.  Apparently there are at least two other bloggers out there who agree that the Borders program isn't as interesting as it could be (see Voidblog and Booksquare).


Kevin Hood

One of the writers for our newsletter just told me about the "old" Borders book club . . . it was really more like an on-line class, but Borders recently changed it to this new style which she doesn't like. The old program had a large selection of classes you could sign up for and all you had to do was buy the book. The first class she signed up for was about the following book: “Writing for Quick Cash; Turn Your Way with Words Into Real Money” by LoriAnn Hoff Oberlin

She would go online, download the class material, and complete the assignments on her own time. She could view other peoples homework online, and the "students" discussed the class online as well, made suggestions, etc. I guess there was a large list of classes with a wide range of subjects. I thought it was a really neat idea and a great way to sell books. She loved it and was looking forward to signing up for other classes, but they recently changed to the new format you mention which greatly disappointed her.

Nice idea with the webcams.

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