Penguin Books breaks the monotony of lockdown with author-reader properties

With readers cooped up indoors, Penguin Books takes multiple digital routes, globally, to help them feel closer to their favourite authors.

Jagruti Verma
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Penguin Books

With readers cooped up indoors, Penguin Books takes a digital route, globally, to help them feel closer to their favourite authors.

A huge chunk of the world is currently in a state of lockdown where citizen movements are increasingly restricted to essential services. For booksellers, publishers and readers, this means that book-related events are being indefinitely postponed. No one can really walk into a store to buy a book (wipes a tear). However, the unique situation has led to a rise in digital content and campaigns. We take a look at how Penguin Books, and Penguin Random House, are using social media platforms to keep readers hooked.

Penguin Random House Virtual Con

Penguin Random House is hosting a Virtual Con event on April 24 this year. The #PRHVirtualCon is slated to be held on digital platforms, where fans would get to participate in author AMAs, interactive Geek Geek Revolution game show, access exclusive content and author videos. Virtual Con's AMAs will be conducted on Reddit.

Penguin Random House #BooksConnectUs

#BooksConnectUs is a digital property under which Penguin Random House has clubbed a huge chunk of author-reader live interactions. These are virtual book events, author Q&As and more, happening on a daily basis. The platforms being leveraged include Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Zoom. While some of the shows are fixed to happen over a few days in a week, others are standalone interactions.

At Home with Penguin UK

Penguin Books has prepared a lineup of authors to go live on Facebook, one every Tuesday this April. The idea is to give readers a weekly peek into the homes of some of the most loved authors like Marian Keyes, Melissa Hemsley, Caroline Criado Perez, and Richard Osman.

"In these isolated circumstances, authors will invite you into their homes to share how theyโ€™re spending their time, talk about the books they are turning to, and take questions from readers," the publisher states.

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#PenguinTV India

Penguin Books India is releasing one episode per day of a story under #PenguinTV. These stories are being narrated and taken forward each day by authors like Ravinder Singh, Shiromi and Durjoy Datta. These videos are being released as IGTV videos every night at 8 pm. In each episode, the author puts forth about 5 minutes of the narrative, leaving the viewers with a cliffhanger, and the next author in line to take it forward.

#OnceUponABookWithPenguin with Momspresso

Penguin India has partnered with Momspresso to create a property called #OnceUponABookWithPenguin. Here, authors associated with the publisher take over the Facebook page, every day at 6:30 PM, for story narrations and live interactions with the audiences. Authors roped in include Ruskin Bond, Lubaina Bandukwala, and Paro Anand and the audiences are primarily kids and parents.

While most of the above digital events are done on a larger scale under themes, there are also a lot of smaller live sessions happening where authors are interacting with their readers. It could be via a local library's page, a two-account live with an influencer or a publication or simply going live from their own social media accounts. Authors who have books scheduled for release are using these mediums to keep readers engaged until there is more clarity on how things would unfold.

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