As of September 1, BookTour.com, a website cofounded by Wired‘s Chris Anderson that helped authors arrange promotional events and publicize their books, is closing. “Fewer author tours and changes in book marketing budgets have made our company financially unviable,” CEO Kevin Smokler wrote today on the company’s blog.
BookTour.com was founded in late 2006 by Smokler, Anderson and CTO Adam Goldstein and went live in 2007. At the time, Anderson wrote on his blog, “There was just no good way to find out about [author] events–or, just as importantly, request one yourself–before. Now there is. We’ve got a good fraction of the current authors on tour and their existing events in our database already and we’ve adding dozens of new ones each day.” The site raised $350,000 from Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) in 2009, and BookTour.com event data was included on Amazon Author pages.
Four years later, there is just as much demand from readers to meet their favorite authors–but, as noted in the blog post, author book tours are much less common and more funds are devoted to online marketing, including social media. In today’s post, Smokler noted some of the other tools that are available to promote author events: “In our absence, we recommend tools from Amazon Author Central, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Calendar, Upcoming.org and Eventful.com as worthy replacements.” None of those (with the exception of Amazon Author Central, of course) focus on books.
While we’re at it, a note on Kevin Smokler, who wrote this post on discoverability of books for paidContent in March: In addition to his work at BookTour.com, Smokler was also recently hired as VP of marketing at long-form journalism site Byliner, but he just got a book deal and has left the company to work on writing full-time. He’ll “still consult with them on a per-project basis, sit in on editorial meetings and generally shift to an at-large role within the larger company structure,” he wrote last week on his blog. “I’ll keep all my stock and extended relationships with the company.”