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Finding Local Book Events on the Web

October 7, 2011

Hey reader-people!  Things have been absolutely insane over here, so this post is hitting the ground a little late in the week.  On the plate today: a quick overview of some awesome resources for finding book events in your area.

One of my favorite things about working in the publicity department at a publishing house is the crazy-sounding, very-special-interest media outlets that cross your path.  (Magazine about cacti?  California organization dedicated to olive oil?  You got it.)  But one of my other favorite things is keeping apprised of author signings and other events going on at local bookstores, especially when it’s one of “our” authors.  During the past few weeks of my internship, I’ve come across a few online resources that have been particularly handy for a New York newcomer like myself–and they aren’t limited to New Yorkers.

1. Time Out

Listing not only book events but everything from art openings to bar trivia contests, Time Out is a print and online magazine that’s a quick and comprehensive way to find out what’s going on in your city.  I favor it over the local newspaper because of its fantastically easy-to-navigate online interface, which lets you look at events for a specific date and time, filter events by price markers like “free” and “cheap,” and sort by category.  It’s also one of the only online local-entertainment resources I’ve found that has a category dedicated entirely to books.  Time Out publishes its weekly magazine in dozens of cities around the world, including New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, and London–which makes it a great place to find out what to do on your vacation, too.

2. ReadingLocal

Currently providing a rundown of literary activity in Portland, Oregon, ReadingLocal will be expanding to cities like Seattle, New York, and Chicago in the near future.  Its sharp, clean user interface includes guides to upcoming events, book news, and new releases.  What I’m really excited about is its upcoming “Shop Local” guide to local bookstores, which is currently under construction on the Portland site.

3. Readers Circle

This handy nonprofit site will let you search for real, in-person book clubs near your ZIP code, if you have an itch for book discussion that online message-boards just can’t scratch.  It will also help your book club organize a live phone chat with its partner authors.

4. Meetup

Considering that one of my fellow Pomona ’11 grads works at Meetup, it probably should have occurred to me that social meeting groups include book clubs.  Meetup has a broader focus than Readers Circle, but it also provides group message boards and group pages that help book clubs (like the one I just joined, using a combination of both sites) stay organized and up-to-date in between meetings.

New York Bonus:

If you are in my lively new home of New York, a couple of bonus sources that have awesome and jam-packed literary event schedules: KGB Bar, a bar and literary journal that hosts most kinds of readings imaginable, from poetry to nonfiction to fantasy; and The Center for Fiction, which hosts all kinds of big-name author talks (Margaret Atwood next week?!?!) and panel discussions.

That’s all for this week!  If you know of a great online book resource I missed, let me know in the comments.  Seriously, though–the more book events I hear about before the fact, the better!

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