BookTube 101: An evening with Sanne Vliegenthart & BookMachine

BookTube 101

BookTube 101

On Wednesday our Administrator and Social Media Coordinator Ellie attended the BookMachine’s event: BookTube 101.

BookTube is the name given to the community of book vloggers on YouTube (channels dedicated to the discussion of books) and booktubers are the given name of the vloggers that run these channels.

One such booktuber is Sanne Vliegenthart, of BooksandQuills, who was the guest host of the event. She came to discuss the relevance of BookTube to the publishing industry and how she has developed her own BookTube channel and career.

Starting out in 2008 Sanne created her channel BooksandQuills to discuss things she was interested in. At the time she was studying for an English Literature degree, so she wanted to discuss what she was reading. Sanne also covered other topics, as BookTube was not officially a ‘thing’ until around 2011.

In 2009 she began to focus more heavily on books when she took part in the 50 Book Challenge, a challenge to read 50 books in one year. Audiences were responsive to her videos documenting her progress, and she found her subscribers growing due to the challenges popularity.

Now, in 2017, her channel has over 160,000 subscribers, 11 million views and she has created over 600 videos since 2008.

BookTube & Publishing

Sanne links her successful BookTube channel to her getting a career in publishing. She currently works as the Social Media producer for Penguin Random House, and she previously worked for Hot Key Books, an imprint of Bonnier, as Digital and Social Media Manager.

With social media being a part of our everyday lives and new jobs within publishing being created specifically to accommodate and utilise it, a background in booktubing and blogging are a growing way to break into the publishing industry. You can read our post on using blogging to get into publishing here.

Along with discussing the benefits of booktubing on her career development, Sanne also discussed the relevance of BookTube to publishers looking to develop their marketing, sales and publicity approaches.

For most booktubers in Britain, booktubing is a hobby that is done alongside a full-time job or education. Out of the close community of booktubers Sanne is a part of, none of them are professional full-time YouTubers. But many of them do have links to the publishing community.

Some are social media producers at other publishing houses, others are writers, booksellers, freelance editors, marketing assistants and more.

BookTube & Publicity

Sanne then discussed how BookTube can help publishing companies publicise books and journals, similarly, if not more so, than blogs and blog tours.

  • YouTube videos often create more comments and discussions than blog posts do.
  • They can last longer than a blog post – imagine writing a 10 minute video into a cohesive blog post.
  • It’s easy to share content and they’re visually appealing
  • Subscribers of booktubers can develop a personal connection with the booktuber, through reading tastes, professionalism and consistency of posting.

BookTube & Sales

As an example, Sanne has procured, roughly, £45,000 for the publishing industry, selling books through an affiliate link to the Book Depository.

She pointed out that this figure is from one affiliate link only. She cannot monitor the amount her subscribers are spending buying books from her recommendations in shops, online or via subscriptions to websites such as Audible.

The topic turned from how booktubers can help to how they should be approached. Since booktubing is a hobby most booktubers will only read and discuss books that they themselves want to read. Sometimes they are sent books and publicity materials from publishers, but rarely accept anything unsolicited. Often publishers will request to send a book to a booktuber, but there is no requirement that they discuss the book on their channel unless they want to.

It is clear from Sanne’s channel and statistics alone that BookTube is incredibly popular and a worthwhile consideration to the development of the publishing industry.

Our YouTube Channel

We are very interested in the topic of BookTube and hearing some tips for starting a channel from Sanne, as we ourselves have a YouTube channel. So far we have created videos on topics such as How to get a Job Interview in PublishingHow to get into Academic Publishing and shared a vlog of our time at the London Book Fair 2017, among others. We’ve recognised the potential of YouTube for the publishing industry and are utilising it for recruitment.

We want to say a big thank you to BookMachine for holding the event, and to Sanne for hosting! Ellie had a great time!

For more information contact us on any of our social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram.

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