Independent publisher Dead Ink Books has launched a “secret literary clubhouse”, The Advanced Reader Club, for 100 members, with such enthusiasm for the scheme that it opened a day earlier than planned.
For £50, subscribers will receive three books, ahead of their arrival in bookshops, and can take part in a dedicated Slack group for book discussion, and participate in author Q&As as well as sessions with the editors and designers. Members will also receive 40% off all other Dead Ink titles and a free tote bag.
Following its launch on Thursday afternoon (28th March), The Advanced Reader Club will also evolve through the members themselves. “Though we'll be helping to curate this space, we also hope that all 100 members of the club are able to make it their own too,” the publisher told The Bookseller. “As you'll be in such close contact with all of us we'll also be coming to you to ask about where we should be putting on author events and workshops. We're hoping that every member of the club feels like they're connected directly to what we're doing and is invested personally in every book we publish.”
“The club is our way of working around them by connecting directly with 100 readers who are passionate about supporting emerging fiction and want to champion the underdog.”
Membership for 2019 will include the following Dead Ink books: Karen Havelin's Please Read This Leaflet Carefully, Lucie McKnight Hardy's Water Shall Refuse Them along with Lee Rourke's Glitch.
Dead Ink publishing director Nathan Connolly told The Bookseller: “I'm a firm believer that the best sales force for a book is a reader telling their friend that ‘they have to read this’.
“I think there is also an issue with how distant and aloof publishing can seem to someone outside the industry, but readers want to get to know the industry. They’re curious about us and there's a certain romance to what we all do when we bring a book to life. I think we should make use of that and invite people in to be part of it. Publishing is all about the reader, so why aren't we working with them?”
Already there had been "real enthusiasm online”, before Connolly even launched the scheme.
"Readers really want to know more and people from within the industry have already been reaching out to say what a good idea it is,” Connolly said. "In fact, there has been such a positive reaction to the idea that we moved the launch date forward a day early."
Within a few hours, almost a quarter of the spots had filled with author Kit de Waal sponsoring one free membership of the club for a low-income reader, and Dead Ink sponsoring another.
Sam Missingham, founder of Lounge Marketing, praised the scheme. She tweeted: "You know I love smart ideas across the book business? Well this is super clever on many levels. Getting fans emotionally invested in your business, focusing on what you can offer that others can't (Amazon et al could/would never do this), doing more of what you're good at."
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