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).