Penguin Launches First to Read: NetGalley for Consumers

Penguin has launched First to Read, a new online book discovery initiative that closely mimics what NetGalley does for book reviewers and publishing professionals but for consumers. The program is aimed at sparking word-of-mouth discussion around a book months before it is available in bookstores.

Like NetGalley, First to Read members will be able to request access to digital galleys (uncorrected versions of books available pre-publication) that can be read with Adobe Digital Editions. All members will have access to excerpts, however.

While anyone can sign up to be a member through Facebook, Penguin will decide who gets access to certain galleys. However, members who participate heavily in the site will earn points which can be redeemed for rewards, including guaranteed access to certain galleys.

“First to Read is a program created for all readers, providing exclusive, early access to our upcoming books. We know people love to talk about and recommend the books they’ve read and are reading, and to encourage that, we’ve integrated social sharing throughout the site,” said senior director of consumer engagement Suzie Sisoler in a statement (below).

[Press Release]

PENGUIN GROUP (USA) LAUNCHES “FIRST TO READ”
NEW ONLINE BOOK DISCOVERY PROGRAM

Penguin Grants Readers Early Access to Upcoming Books
to Spark Word-of-Mouth Among Readers

New York, New York, June 18, 2013 … Penguin Group (USA), one of the leading U.S. consumer trade book publishers, today launched First to Read, an exciting new program that will grant readers free sneak peeks of some of Penguin’s most anticipated books – months before they are available in stores and online retailers.

This program is part of Penguin’s ongoing efforts to increase book discoverability and engage with readers. Members will have an opportunity to request access to digital galleys, which can be read on all devices that support Adobe Digital Editions, while all members will have access to early excerpts. Featured books will include titles from across all genres, from mystery to romance to narrative nonfiction to young adult, including such widely anticipated upcoming Penguin titles as Hotshot by Julie Garwood, The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead, Sister Mother Husband Dog by Delia Ephron, The Childhod of Jesus by J. M. Coetzee, Dark Lycan by Christine Feehan, and many more.

“First to Read is a program created for all readers, providing exclusive, early access to our upcoming books. We know people love to talk about and recommend the books they’ve read and are reading, and to encourage that, we’ve integrated social sharing throughout the site,” said Suzie Sisoler, Sr. Director of Consumer Engagement.

Penguin’s First to Read program harnesses the power of word-of-mouth and offers members the opportunity to share news and information with friends and other readers about favorite new books through their connected social networks. First to Read includes a loyalty program that awards members points for their participation on the site. Points can be redeemed for guaranteed galley access and other member rewards.

First to Read is a free program, but membership is required. Readers can sign up for an account or sign in with an existing Facebook account. The launch schedule can be found at www.firsttoread.com.
Penguin Group (USA):
Penguin Group (USA) LLC is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children’s trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Viking, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset & Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne, among others. The Penguin Group (www.penguin.com) is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.

3 thoughts on “Penguin Launches First to Read: NetGalley for Consumers

  1. Lynne Connolly

    I review for a major romance site – The Good, The Bad and The Unread, so I receive ARCS. However it’s on the understanding that my review is always unbiased. I will review books I get ARCs for and books I buy myself on the same basis. If I don’t like a book, I reserve the right to say so, and why.
    This scheme seems to want to promote positivity, ie reviews biased towards the positive. By running it in-house, Penguin gets much more control over who gets the books. I’m interested to see how this pans out. It would only make commercial sense if Penguin intended to make this more of a fan site than a site to discuss books readers didn’t like.
    And watch the disclaimers. Make sure any comments are yours and not Penguin’s, which would give them the right to quote any commenter wherever they liked. Probably add to the Amazon reviews, too.

    Reply
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