March 30, 2020

How Publishing Stays Connected

By NYU SPS Center for Publishing Staff

The ever resourceful publishing industry has turned social distancing into virtual connecting. 

In these challenging times, publishing continues to link readers to books and authors in new ways. Authors and publishers  are coordinating online book tours to promote their books. Children’s publishers are sharing resources for families who are now homeschooling children and offering live virtual storytelling read alouds.  The beloved industry magazine Publishers Weekly is offering free digital editions of issues. And bookstores are hosting virtual events for readers to hear from authors and share in the restorative power of a great story. 

Below are just some of the resources and recommendations the publishing and media world has created to reach readers in tough times.

Book Recommendations For Sanity And Salvation

Looking for titles to add to your TBR (To Be Read) pile? The New York Times recently asked authors to recommend books that bring them comfort. Esquire recommends twenty books for taking a break from reality.  Now that many of us have more time to stay home and read, Refinery29 offers some long reads.

The New York Public Library may be temporarily closed, but librarians are still available to recommend books. You can ask for personalized book recommendations every Friday on the NYPL Recommends’ Twitter Office Hours. The Libby app allows library members anywhere to reserve and checkout ebooks and audiobooks, and can also recommend books based on your most recent reads. For readers who want to support independent bookstores during quarantine, the newly minted lets customers order books online with a share of the profit going to independent bookstores (bookseller recommendations are also available).

Zoom Plus: Virtual Literary Events

While many bookstores are temporarily closed and book festivals canceled, authors and booksellers are hosting events for fans online. The Brooklyn bookstore Books Are Magic has scheduled several author events on Zoom in the coming weeks. Award winning graphic novelist Gene Yuen Lang had to cancel his book tour for “Dragon Hoops,” so has taken to Instagram to tour as a cartoon, answering readers’ questions in comic strip form. And the beloved children’s author and illustrator Mo Willems is hosting a daily “Lunch Doodle” for kids on YouTube, delighting fans both young and old. For literary fiction, check out LitHub’s new Virtual Book Channel for video interviews and other discussions with contemporary authors.

The Quarantine Book Club….And More

Reading doesn’t have to happen alone: book clubs have adapted to Zoom and other video chat platforms to help readers connect. The literary magazine A Public Space is offering the book club  #TolstoyTogether, where readers are making their way through War and Peace,15 pages at a time. The aptly named Quarantine Book Club, started by two designers in San Francisco, features daily virtual book discussions with authors. TIME Magazine recently rounded up notable online book clubs and discusses how to start your own.

Engaging Toddlers, Tweens, and Teens

Many children’s publishers are sharing resources to help with home schooling and virtual learning. While sales of learning supplements such as flashcards and workbooks have soared (Amazon’s number one book right now is a workbook), virtual content is becoming more and more available. Scholastic shares downloadable activities for kids, as well as video content and online lessons. The Scholastic Virtual Book Fest series will offer weekly virtual events with children’s authors like R.L. Stine. 

For tweens and teens, the YA-dedicated site Epic Reads is hosting weekly sessions on Twitter and Instagram Live for readers to chat about what they’re reading. And the American Association of Publishers has a roundup of resources academic publishers and others have available to support virtual learning.

How are you staying connected to books while you’re at home? You can share ideas with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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