Thursday, May 03, 2007

Where We Read

You all read in some very interesting places outside the home. I think I'm going to try out some of your ideas (I really want to go camping like Ris and read by the fire while I roast marshmallows. That could be the nearest thing to total bliss.)

Anyway, we got out the magic hat, and the winner for yesterday's RW quickie giveaway is BJ Steeves. BJ, when you get a chance, e-mail your ship-to info to and I'll get these books out to you.

The comments left yesterday also underlined how individual the reading experience is for the dedicated reader. I found them fascinating. Comfort seems to be a common denominator, as does a certain amount of privacy or anonymity. Some of you like to be outdoors in a park or a pretty spot, while others are fine reading in busier locations.

Knowing where people like to read could help publishing create more effective avenues of marketing. It's common knowledge that many people read while traveling on planes, cruise ships, buses, subways, trains and other forms of mass transit. People on vacation also takes books to read by the pool, on the beach, or while hanging out at the hotel. Then there are the lengthy medical procedures, hospital stays and other health-related incarcerations. What else can you do in a waiting room or hospital bed but read or watch infomercials on whatever three channels the room television picks up?

A book does goes well with any activity that requires you to stay in one place and do nothing for at least an hour, or when you're relaxing but separated from the usual relaxation aids (TV, movies, video games, alcohol, sex, and food.) Pass-the-time reading, when there's little opportunity to do anything else; read or be bored. It seems disheartening -- we want people to read more for pleasure -- but we can still use the knowledge.

If you can't get people into the bookstores, get the books to the people when they're most likely to want to read. I recently mentioned how much I'd like to see a fiction book rack in hotel lobbies. How about putting some gratis books in the back pockets of every seat on an airplane? Provides a nice alternative to reading outdated travel magazines or the laminated belt-buckle-flotation-device-oxygen-mask instructional picture card.

When it comes to where we choose to read outside the home, we seek out places that appeal to us for some reason on personal level (as your comments yesterday illustrated.) Books are just sold as books, though; we rarely pair them with anything else, and I think by doing so that we're missing some marketing opportunities. If I'm going to lounge on the sand, I'd love a tote bag stocked with some sunblock, a big towel, and a hot romance. I go to tea shops all the time, and would snap up a tea-lovers book package in a heartbeat. Mary Balogh, some Irish breakfast tea and a package of scones, how could you go wrong? Maybe by integrating books with products we use during a relaxing activity, we might convince the people who aren't reading out there to associate books with something other than the English class assignment or the colonoscopy.

What do you guys think?


  1. Anonymous3:28 AM

    I think being a reader is something you have in your personality or you don't, even if you can aquire it. There is people that really can't understand why you really like to read as it is something totally foreign for them.

    I think it is something you have to aquire young when you start to read and see it as entering new universe and not only a chore (I "have to" read this for school).

    We should teach our children to read with pleasure and help them find the something that will make them read for life.

  2. Anonymous4:36 AM

    It's funny you mentioned tea and books - there's a bookshop not far from me that sells fine teas and romance/sf/crime books.

  3. I like your ideas; I also wish they'd supply books at doctor's offices--pediatricians tend to do so for their younger patients. I'm surprised the HMO's and publishing industry haven't considered working out a deal by now. :)

    Being more of a coffee drinker than tea lover, I'd buy a collection of coffee themed fiction; first suggestions: Coffee and Kung Fu by Karen Brichoux.

    Ooo, just thought of another idea: travel agencies could feature fiction and non fictional packages of books by authors from various foreign countries. (That thought came to me after I remembered English as a Second Language by Megan Crane...if anyone was curious).

  4. The town I live in has "Book Nooks" in several public areas/doctors' offices/etc. Books are donated and can be returned to any Book Nook location. Also, there's an interesting site,Book Crossing, where you pass books on you've read... not to a friend, or someone you know, but by leaving it in areas where someone else can pick it up... a restaurant, a laundramat, anywhere there are people.

  5. I like Crack-pot's idea about travel agencies.
    Publishers may be missing a bet.

  6. Love your ideas. Maybe I should start donating books to doctor's waiting rooms, that's a place where people always wind up hanging around with nothing to do for an hour longer than they've planned. *g*

  7. Anonymous9:01 AM

    When I finish a book on an airplane -- often, since many of my flights are quite long -- I almost always leave it in the plane's magazine rack as I leave. It would make perfect sense to me for the airlines to support a Book Nook-like program. I'll bet they'd love it if publishers fed them a steady supply of new books, too.

  8. I think it would be wonderful to have more books available on flights and at the terminals.

    PA announcer: "Attention passengers of US Air 691, your flight will be delayed for at least another hour. Don't forget to pick up Terminal A's book-of-the-month at the kiosk!"

  9. Anonymous11:20 AM

    *G* I was buying coffee yesterday and there was a local author's books for sale in the coffee shop.

    i love the idea of books in waiting rooms and airplanes.

  10. Anonymous11:31 AM

    I used to take the Delta shuttle flights between DC and New York a lot, and there was a huge rack of complimentary newspapapers and magazines for all of the business travelers as your boarded. Once, there was a stack of books there as well. Hardcover. I forget what the book was, but I was very happy to see that particular promotional device. I never saw it again, though.

  11. I like the idea of pairing books with other products. Chocolate and a great thriller was the first thing that came to mind.

    And I agree that we all have to do more to encourage kids to read. At the orthodontist's office my daughter was deep into Lemony Snicket and every other kid was hooked to a game boy. We need an International Read To A Kid day.

  12. Anonymous2:48 PM

    I think this is a great idea. Hotel lobbies, airports, doctor's offices, bus and train stations...

    And I really like the "book nook" idea.

  13. Speaking of pairing books with other things - knowing my wife and sisters, I'm sure a gift basket that included bubble bath, salts, lotion, etc., AND a nice book would go over well with people who like to take a nice long soak with a book.

  14. I really want to go camping like Ris and read by the fire while I roast marshmallows. That could be the nearest thing to total bliss.

    Until you burn the marshmallows while absorbed in the book, then drop the book in the fire while rescuing the marshmallows.

    Did someone say, "burn the pessimist!!"?


  15. I think those are all great ideas. I'm almost paranoid about having a book on me just in case.

  16. I'm glad to hear I wasn't the only one who pictured those poor defenseless marshmallows going up in flames.
    *runs away giggling*

  17. Anonymous5:32 AM

    I carry my books with me wherever I go...but I'd love to see books instead of crappy magazines in book nooks!

    Cool idea.

    Video book Reviews for You


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