Finding Book Review Blogs: Think Beyond the Book

This morning I was reading through one of my favorite daily emails, Shelf Awareness Pro (if you have any interest at all in writing, publishing, bookselling, or reading, I suggest that you subscribe). They often sell ads to book publishers to promote books pre-publication (usually so that book reviewers and booksellers can request advance reader copies), and today I noticed that they had included an ad for a book I’ve been following the past few weeks (already on my to-read list): All Russians Love Birch Trees, a novel by Olga Grjasnowa, published by fellow indie publisher, Other Press. The ad scrolled through a few reviews I had already read, a headshot of the author, and the cover, but it was the final blurb that caught my eye. Other Press had included a quote from the Warby Parker blog.

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If you aren’t familiar with Warby Parker, it is an online eyeglasses retailer that specializes in vintage-style frames. It’s recently become very popular outside of its original niche audience (confession: I recently bought a pair myself), and the company has done an incredible job partnering with designers, stylists, bloggers, and others in the fashion world to create a hip brand and highly visual blog.

I had no idea that the Warby Parker blog reviewed books, though, and the more I thought about it, the more I loved it. Typically, authors only consider dedicated book review blogs when looking for online love for their books, and publishers often have a list of go-to bloggers for promotion. Reaching outside of the book world into another corner of a vibrant fashion/culture industry is smart. As a reader, it reinforces that this is the kind of book I want to read (I love Warby Parker’s brand and unique style). For a consumer (or bookseller or blogger or reviewer) who may have been on the fence about the book, a blurb like this is a well-timed affirmation that this novel is young, edgy, and transformative.

Also, I would love to see a report on the correlation between book buyers and eyeglasses wearers. My guess is that my fellow book nerds and I buy our fair share of eyewear.