Nicole Sullivan, who owns the BookBar in Denver, Colo. has launched another venture. ReadTribe, a free service to bookstores and to individuals, is a website connecting readers with book clubs -- as well as book clubs with readers. Book clubs must be affiliated with an indie bookstore to participate in ReadTribe.
Readers can join ReadTribe as individual users and browse lists of book clubs that are categorized by zip code, and then narrowed down by reading styles, goals, and genre focus, as well as the bookstore to which that book club is affiliated. Inversely, book clubs that are seeking new members or simply wanting to better manage their groups can create a profile that is set to public or private and that accepts or is closed to new members. Features include member polls, forums, a calendar, book club news, bookstore news, and book recommendations.
Participating bookstores can create a profile, which includes a featured book and event each month. Bookstores can update their events, as well as the book recommendations that will appear in the sidebar area on the individual pages of each of their affiliated book clubs. Both book club selections and bookstore recommendations will link to that store’s IndieCommerce page for customer purchase. Bookstores can also highlight any amenities offered to book clubs, such as a meeting space, discounts on selected books, or even discounts on food or drink, if available at that store. ReadTribe will also provide participating bookstores with marketing materials directed at their customers in book clubs or wanting to join book clubs.
“This will be a way for all of us booksellers to directly market and sell to all of those book club customers that we knew we have but haven’t had a great way to reach directly,” Sullivan said, explaining that the project has been in the works since shortly after BookBar, a bookstore that includes a wine bar, opened in 2014. The store has always marketed itself to local book clubs as a meeting place to discuss books in a comfortable environment. Sullivan said that ReadTribe's inspiration came from the queries from customers she and her staff have fielded on a daily basis regarding the availability of book clubs that they might join. “I wanted a solution for this, and I wanted to share it with all of my bookseller friends so we can sell more books,” she said, noting that ReadTribe has operated on a beta level involving "a handful" of bookstores since 2018.
Publishers and authors can also participate in this service by placing advertising on the ReadTribe website. For details, they can contact Anne@readtribe.com