As part of its “Up Front and Unscripted” Series, MJ Rose and Chris Anderson spent a half an hour Thursday afternoon talking about Anderson’s new venture, Booktour.com. Created in tandem with Kevin Smokler and “19 year old Ivy League wunderkind” Adam Goldstein, Booktour.com, in Anderson’s words, is an attempt to capture as much information about author appearances to prospective audiences as possible and aggregate everything into one location. “There is a better way to market books,” Anderson said, “and there are so many places with little bits of information about books. ” He also stressed that Booktour.com won’t supercede publishers’ efforts on their authors’ behalf, adding that aside from giving authors the option of customizing author pages, they can add publicist information as well and direct any appearance arrangements their way.
The site, which officially launched June 1, will be in open-beta testing mode to give “a very small group” the ability to “help it evolve.” When asked, Anderson said initially that testing would take a week to work out kinks and new features, though having some experience as a beta tester, a couple of months seems more realistic. The q&a was extensive afterwards as audience members asked Anderson (as well as Smokler, a frequent responder from the back) about creating local channels, the role of booksellers, North American vs. worldwide reach and usability. From the sounds of things, Booktour.com is an idea that seems simple, but it remains to be seen (and Anderson admitted as much) whether publishers will be fully on board with the project.