Start-Up Bibliostar Wants to Be Buzzfeed for Books, to Turn Authors into Online Video Stars

Video may have killed the radio star, but can it turn authors into online sensations?

A new start-up launched today from a book-video veteran is betting that online video can help publishers make their authors famous and sell more books. The company, Bibliostar.tv, shoots, produces, publishes and publicizes video of authors being interviewed, walking through bookstores talking about their favorite books, and more (see screen shot below).

“The idea is to create an entertainment venue around books and authors,” said the company’s founder Rich Fahle. Fahle is the CEO and founder of Astral Road Media, a marketing services agency for authors and other content creators. Prior to Astral Road, Fahle was vice president of digital content, e-commerce and entertainment for Borders where he launched and helped build the bookseller’s video operations to over 30 million online views. (Disclosure: Fahle has also produced and published video for Digital Book World.) “We want to be Buzzfeed for books, encapsulating the best stuff that happens on the Web arond authors.”

According to Fahle, video is a great source of untapped marketing potential for publishers given its ability to engage viewers as well as its staying power online through venues like YouTube.

“Video has a lasting value,” he said. “It generates views for years. It continues to drive awareness and discovery after you produce it.”

Bibliostar.tv will publish videos created by Astral Road and other production companies of authors, book trailers, and live events like readings. The videos the company publishes will aim to give readers an inside look at specific titles, enticing them to buy after they’ve learned more about the author and the book. The company is already talking with various publishers about producing videos of their authors for the site as well as to bookstores about filming literary events. Fahle would not divulge details of which publishers or bookstores.

The site has a few videos already, including a sit-down interview with The Happiness Project (HarperCollins) author Gretchen Rubin, and a bookstore walk-through with David Maraniss, author of Barack Obama: The Story (Simon & Schuster).

Upcoming authors featured include Libba Bray, who is the author of many books, including the upcoming title The Diviners (Hachette, out Sept. 18), one of the most anticipated young-adult books of the fall; Dennis Lehane, author of award-winning novel A Drink Before the War (HarperCollins) and of the upcoming Live by Night (HarperCollins, out Oct. 2); and Will Schwalbe, author of the highly anticipated memoir The End of Your Life Book Club (Random House, out Oct. 2).

“Publicity for a book should go on and on,” said Fahle. “The original plan to publicize a book for the first few weeks of its life isn’t enough anymore. You have to have a content strategy, too.”

Bibliostar.tv doesn’t have a set revenue strategy yet. The company intends to build an audience first, but some options are advertising, affiliate sales and production fees. The company, run by Fahle and two associates, currently has no outside financial backing but Fahle is in talks with strategic investors, he said.

“There will be advertising opportunities on the site,” said Fahle. “Publishers will want to highlight their books as the traffic grows. There will be opportunities for affiliate sales. But right now it’s about just creating a great destination for author video.”

Want to learn more about how to publicize your book online and increase its discoverability? Then attend the Digital Book World Discoverability and Marketing conference in New York on September 24 and 25. Register today!

One thought on “Start-Up Bibliostar Wants to Be Buzzfeed for Books, to Turn Authors into Online Video Stars

  1. Antonia Murphy

    Sounds like a great idea! Not sure about filming “authors walking around bookstores and talking about their favorite books” though. The Internet being what it is, the videos that get the most play will be the wackiest book trailers, preferably involving cats and dancing squirrels.

    And that’s cool. I’ll dance me some squirrels to earn a few readers!

    Reply

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