Last Wednesday night, I went to a friend’s book reading at the Barnes and Noble nearby in Encino. Unlike a typical attendee, though, I made a point of talking to our friend and asking if he had thought about recording, and then podcasting, his reading. In fact, he had not, but quickly thought it would be a great idea. So, with camcorder and MP3 recorder in tow, I captured the entire 30+ minute event. We will be doing some light editing on the content and then releasing it on his web site, and probably mine.
Now, this begs the question…why aren’t more bookstores recording their readings and then letting this content build awareness of their store and the services they provide? They are scheduling these readings anyway, so how much more work is required to capture the content?
Not much really. A small audio recorder and an average camcorder are all you need. Sure, they might have to find someone to output the audio and video into MP3 and MP4 formats for the web, but I am guessing that they all know someone who can do that, even if they haven’t yet learned themselves.
What do they have to gain from capturing this content? Let me count the ways!
- You gain your own, personal radio and television channel where you control the programming and can get your message out to customers throughout the globe
- Reading is distributed to thousands of people, instead of just the 20-30 (maybe) who were actually able to make it to the store
- Placing the video on YouTube and your web site raises your store’s visibility at little cost to you
- Authors can place the video on their web site, further spreading the video and your brand
- Gain authors goodwill by providing them content for their web site and showing them how the Internet can be used to promote their books themselves. (I find that unless the author is famous already, most publishers marketing departments don’t know them from Adam or Eve. Authors MUST promote their own work)
- Include web, audio and video links to the author’s book linking directly back to your online sales site. (You DO have one, don’t you?) This drives sales from people well outside your local geographic area and helps to monetize your readings well beyond those who might attend in person
- Create a video archive of readings which attracts visitors to your web site and continues working 365/7/24. Even better, if one of these authors suddenly becomes famous, you already have golden content on your site
- You develop a reputation for benefitting authors, as well as yourself, in the local and national book publishing circles. Authors might start selecting your store over another, since they know they will get something more than the average bookstore reading.
- With a bit more work, (only a little but more these days), you could turn book readings into online, real time book discussions, allowing audience members around the world to ask questions via text, audio or video
A lot of these benefits also effect other organizations and companies, so you are sure to see something similar in future examples. Every individual, every company and every non-profit can find some way in which podcasting can enhance their work, build their profits and get their message out to the world.
Great idea! If the bookshops are not proactive, it might be up to the writer to suggest this and maybe even arrange their own videoing of their talk to offer to the store to put on their site.
You could easily create a business out of this idea…a web site devoted to author readings.