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.


frankenduf

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

bbeam

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.

ImFromGuam

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

epageturners

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

cewing

I think it is worth exploring the question of why "blacks and whites have different preferences" when it comes to TV shows and books. I think the answer is fairly obvious. If a book or TV show features black characters who are more than stereotypes or one-dimensional bit players, where they have lead roles and complex relationships with other people, and are the center of the narrative arc, that book or show tends to attract a black audience. I think in this regard blacks and white have the same preferences when it comes to their entertainment choices in that nobody wants to watch junk that insults or marginalizes them, which unfortunately has been the case with a lot of US television shows and books throughout history for non-whites.

A more revealing study would involve correlating how a TV show or book portrays members of a certain race with how popular the show is with people of that race.

Read more...

frankenduf

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

bbeam

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.

ImFromGuam

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

epageturners

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

cewing

I think it is worth exploring the question of why "blacks and whites have different preferences" when it comes to TV shows and books. I think the answer is fairly obvious. If a book or TV show features black characters who are more than stereotypes or one-dimensional bit players, where they have lead roles and complex relationships with other people, and are the center of the narrative arc, that book or show tends to attract a black audience. I think in this regard blacks and white have the same preferences when it comes to their entertainment choices in that nobody wants to watch junk that insults or marginalizes them, which unfortunately has been the case with a lot of US television shows and books throughout history for non-whites.

A more revealing study would involve correlating how a TV show or book portrays members of a certain race with how popular the show is with people of that race.

Read more...