The Rise of the Black Book Club

Given that the publishing industry has a tendency to flail when it comes to marketing research, here’s a heartening consumer trend: The Wall Street Journal has reported that book clubs targeting African-American readers have exploded in popularity, even while traditional book clubs are foundering. As of December, the Black Expressions book club had 460,000 members, a substantial rise over the famed Book of the Month Club‘s 345,000. A book club primarily for black readers would only work, of course, if blacks and whites had very different preferences — which, as we’ve seen with TV viewing habits and baby names (to name a few), they plainly do.

Leave A Comment

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

 

COMMENTS: 10

View All Comments »
  1. frankenduf says:

    TV is easy; names- check for suffixes; but how can I tell if a book is ebocentric?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  2. frankenduf says:

    TV is easy; names- check for suffixes; but how can I tell if a book is ebocentric?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  3. bbeam says:

    Targeting an African-American audience and getting one are different things, and I would suspect that the demographics of Black Expressions includes several non-African- Americans. (I am not African-American, but I certainly have read my share of “black” literature.) There is also the very real possibility that the list of things included in a “regular” book club (a la Book of the Month) is a subset of what Black Expressions offers. Since there are more good books than can possibly be covered by any club, “focusing” it probably means that you tighten the content, not the quality, and that can be appealing (like subscribing to a particular blog, for instance….) Oh, and it is also possible that the people that pick the books for Black Expressions are just better at it than others.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  4. bbeam says:

    Targeting an African-American audience and getting one are different things, and I would suspect that the demographics of Black Expressions includes several non-African- Americans. (I am not African-American, but I certainly have read my share of “black” literature.) There is also the very real possibility that the list of things included in a “regular” book club (a la Book of the Month) is a subset of what Black Expressions offers. Since there are more good books than can possibly be covered by any club, “focusing” it probably means that you tighten the content, not the quality, and that can be appealing (like subscribing to a particular blog, for instance….) Oh, and it is also possible that the people that pick the books for Black Expressions are just better at it than others.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  5. ImFromGuam says:

    Not only that..459,000 members are also a member of Oprah’s Book and Magazine Club.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  6. ImFromGuam says:

    Not only that..459,000 members are also a member of Oprah’s Book and Magazine Club.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  7. epageturners says:

    I guess I like the idea that my book club automatically donates $1 per sale and 10% of all sales to my favorite literacy charities :)

    It may interest you as well? :)

    http://www.epageturners.com

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  8. epageturners says:

    I guess I like the idea that my book club automatically donates $1 per sale and 10% of all sales to my favorite literacy charities :)

    It may interest you as well? :)

    http://www.epageturners.com

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0