The One Book Lending Library


Huffington Post has a post from Stephen Elliott on a brave new scheme he concocted to get his forth-coming book, The Adderall Diaries, read:

My plan was to allow anyone who wanted to read an advance copy of the book the opportunity to do so, provided they forwarded the book within a week to the next reader.

Interesting idea. Things didn’t run quite as smoothly as he’d hoped. People weren’t forwarding the books in quite as timely a manner as he’d planned.

Still… you would think that if people agreed to read the book and forward it within a week that most of them would do that. Not true. Not even remotely true. … The most common excuses for not sending the book on time were, “I’m in the process of moving” and “I’ve been out of town.” My favorite was the person who requested a book and then volunteered for a three month stint with the forest service.

I think some people just like to get free stuff, whether they really want it or not.

It was huge investment in time, although his publisher picked up the tab for initially sending the 400 copies: $800. He later cautions against using the slowest mail, book rate, and advises springing for the extra dollar for Priority Mail to cut down on shipping time. The whole idea was not without its detractors who thought it was way too much buzz for a book that wasn’t even available yet.  Elliott seems happy to have simply gotten the book out there and read.

I don’t know if you could classify this as a ‘grass roots’ effort, since he has a publisher, but it’s a bold move nonetheless. You can read more of the details at the article linked above if you’re interested in trying something similar.

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12 thoughts on “The One Book Lending Library

  1. Very interesting! Doesn’t sound like an approach I’d take, but it definitely has merits. And kudos to him for trying something different.

    I know a lot of writers give ARC to blog readers and online book reviewers. That’s the route I plan to take.

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  2. I don’t know how wide a reach it would have, but as a reader I love the idea. sometimes when I finish a book I like, I just send it to somebody whom I think would enjoy it, and ask her/him to so the same. It’s fun to see what happens.

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  3. It is fun to share a book you enjoy.

    Which for some inexplicable reason reminds me that when I was at the bookstore a couple weekends ago, I happened to notice on the shelf in the Mystery section at B&N several books by Georgette Heyer, the same one who penned the Regency romances we talked about awhile back (I can’t remember if that was on your blog, or mine). I had no idea she wrote anything other than those romances. Along with those, I also saw copies of the romances still on the Romance shelves and in print. Amazing.

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  4. Well, you and Rosie were discriminating young readers, and Georgette’s books caught your attention. I never really favored those Regency romances, but clearly she’s doing something that’s appealed to a lot of readers over the years, OR the name sells so well that it’s been recycled by a number of ghostwriters (those Torquil books were in the school library over 30 years ago.)

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  5. Oh, I hadn’t even thought they might have franchised the name. I forget they do that sometimes, like Carlos Castaneda. People still think those books were all written by the same guy and that it’s all true.

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  6. A lot of pop lit does that – the “Carolyn Keene” who wrote the Nancy Drew books was actually a staff of freelancers of the years (I’m not even sure if they were all female – any Nancy D. experts out there?)

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  7. MaryJ,

    Well, first I have to find the agent who believes in my work. Then, said agent must find editors and marketers and all those good people who believe in it. After all that, if my book manages to get published, believe me, I will be thrilled (and very thankful) to send you an ARC! :)))

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