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Posts Tagged ‘Kim Ricketts’

The Corporate Side of Booksigning

When Kim Ricketts launched her Book Events company more than three years ago in Seattle, no one else was connecting authors with corporations like Starbucks, Microsoft and Real Networks in a formal way. Now these things are much more commonplace, but that isn’t keeping Ricketts from a hectic schedule that ends “by 11 PM or midnight,” as she tells the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s John Marshall in a brief Q&A.

Her biggest success? “When those inside companies write to me and say things like ‘I used to think of myself as a reader and went to author events, but then I got too busy with my career or having kids, but now with authors at my workplace, it reminds me how much I love to read,” she says. “I like that conversionary experience. I am evangelistic on this point. That’s when I feel like I have won.” And as for what’s next, expanding what we do to other companies in other regions,” namely in Minneapolis, New York City, Washington, D.C. and Boston. In other words, expect a lot more author/corporation matchups to come…

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Authors At the Workplace to Read, Not Work

The SF Chronicle’s Tamara Straus looks at the recent trend of publishers sending authors not to the bookstores, but to the workplace to tour. Since the fall of 2005, for example, Google has joined several large West Coast companies such as Microsoft, Starbucks and Yahoo in hosting authors for weekly, sometimes daily, book-selling events that were once the sacred realm of bookstores. Although writers have long given lectures at universities and community centers, growing demand for them at the office is forcing publishers to rethink the traditional author tour and inducing booksellers to create ties with the corporate campus next door.

“There are so many distractions out there,” said Yelena Gitlin, publicity manager for Bloomsbury Books, who started bringing authors to Microsoft and Starbucks in 2003. “It’s hard to get people into bookstores these days, so book publishers and sellers have to come to readers — and they are often at work.” And the approach is working, according to Kim Ricketts, who runs her own company organizing non-bookstore events in Seattle and San Francisco. “At public bookstore events, 10 to 20 percent of the people buy books. At corporate events, 50 to 80 percent buy books and attendance tends to be higher,” she said. Plus, some companies, like Google, buy the books on behalf of their employees, often in orders of a hundred copies or more.

Which may make some bookstores shake in their boots, but not Bay Area stores. “I don’t see it as a threatening thing. I think it’s a good thing,” said Karen West, events director of Book Passage in Corte Madera, which holds about 100 in-store author events a month and has been steadily developing corporate partners. “But if publishers become booksellers, that’s a whole other phenomenon. … Nobody wants to see that happen, and I think publishers are aware of that.”