BBC Radio 2 expands book club exposure

BBC Radio 2 expands book club exposure

BBC Radio 2 is to expand the scope of its book club beyond the "Simon Mayo Drivetime" show with the aim of reaching more readers.

The six titles featuring on the book club this spring will be the first chosen by BBC Radio 2 in its new partnership with The Reading Agency, and the station is also making logos available to retailers and publishers in the hopes they will use them to promote the chosen books, although it will not be providing promotional tools itself.

Traditionally the book club has been the purview of the drivetime show on Radio 2 weekdays hosted by Mayo [pictured]. However Rhian Roberts of the BBC Radio 2 Book Club said: “The book club will still have its home on the Simon Mayo show but the idea is we will lift the books out of that programme and we’ll be talking about them on other shows as well. So you’ll hear what Graham Norton makes of some of our choices as well as other voices like Jo Whiley, Jeremy Vine and Ken Bruce.”

All the information and reviews on the chosen titles will be put on the BBC Radio 2 Book Club page, which Roberts described as being “a digital destination” for people interested in the books.

Roberts said publishers “have been very happy to work” with the book club and see the value of the station’s 15 million listeners.

Publishers were asked to submit two key titles per imprint, with the book club’s criteria summed up as being “those stories which stay with you forever”.

The Reading Agency’s panel of librarians then read the submissions, before coming together to decide on 12 titles.The six titles were then chosen by the BBC Radio 2 Book Club panel, which includes Radio 2 controller Bob Shennan and Mayo.

Roberts said the club has also had “lots of interest from retailers” and would be encouraging them to use Radio 2 Book Club assets, but that the BBC would not be providing anything beyond logos.

Roberts said: “The BBC only releases the assets and the publishers pick up all costs associated with creating stickers, posters etc. There is no cost to us as this would be a misuse of the licence fee.”

Roberts said she was also asking major retailers to work with libraries to supply with associated material, but that there was nothing “concrete yet”.

The first book in the next stage of the club will be announced on air on March 25th, and the author will feature live on the Simon Mayo Show two weeks later.

Among the six titles which will feature is The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (Orbit) by Claire North.