I’m all for “passionate conversations about books,” which is what the home page for Daniel Menaker‘s online chat show promises, so I’ll definitely be curious to see whether what Motoko Rich describes for the Times as “a round-table discussion between Mr. Menaker… and a group of four authors” can draw a loyal enough audience to transition from its initial private backing to corporate sponsorships. Not to mention I’m dying to know what the Titlepage site will offer besides those taped conversations—how do Menaker and the producers intend to turn viewers into active, engaged participants? Because “[letting] people listen in on a conversation they might like to have themselves” can only take you so far; one of the most powerful aspects of online media is that it allows you to move beyond talking at your audience and start talking with them.
On a side note, there was one bit of detail tucked into the article that an anonymous GalleyCat reader considers proof that this week’s literary sensation was, in his words, “the ultimate inside job”:
“Mr. Menaker… is married to Katherine Bouton, deputy editor of The New York Times Magazine, and has written a book of humor with Charles McGrath, a writer at large at the Times. The first episode [of Titlepage] will feature… Charles Bock…”
The conspiracy theory might be undermined, though, by the fact that Bock was brought into the Random House fold by David Ebershoff, not Menaker…