The folks at Mailchimp held an online book festival earlier this month called ‘By The Books’. At first I thought it kind of weird that an email newsletter company would be hosting/coordinating such an event, but once I scrolled through and took in some of what they had shared, it was pretty cool. The voices they are featuring seem to point to the fact that they ‘get books’ and understand the role that books play in our lives and communities. I thought this was just an underwriting/sponsorship thing, but I think I was wrong.
I clicked throughout Mailchimp’s ‘By the Books’ festival site and thought there were some interesting essays on there. I won’t name my favorites yet, as I didn’t read them all. But I felt it was time well spent on the handful I did read. It’s worth clicking through to scroll and see if anything piques your interest.
I will say: go ahead and maximize your browser window once your on the site. Things will just visually line up better. It will help in navigating the site too. While I was taking in ‘By the Book’, I was on three different screen sizes and got disoriented a few times.
‘By the Books’ featured a collection of books (with links to buy) curated by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow. The selection is really broad in scope and quite refreshing. Friedman and Sow also do a podcast together called Call Your Girlfriend. I am guessing they spun that series into a book as they have just released Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close, published by Simon & Schuster. It seems to be in the same vein as their podcast.
The festival also hosted a pop-up version of the Longform Podcast for this event and it’s called The Books That Changed Us. So far three episodes are on the site (you have to click on the ‘Listen’ menu item).
But do check out the essays as well as the author conversations (just keep scrolling down on that main page). The videos are interesting too, if you haven’t seen them before. The ones I watched are a few years old and have been on YouTube for a while. But it was nice to see them again and have them curated here.
I had heard that ‘By the Books’ was created to help fill the vacuum left when the Decatur Books Festival had to cancel this year. If that’s true, that’s very cool.
This was an event I hope other brands and companies think about doing. Extra attention and spotlights are something all authors could use right now. It’s hard enough to get ink for new books and voices any time of the year. During an election year? Three times as hard. Getting publicity during THIS election year with everything else going on? It’s going to be tough (unless your name is Bolton or Mary Trump or Michael Cohen.
So keep reading and sharing book blogs. Start your own book blog! And check out Mailchimp’s ‘By the Book’ offerings. They can’t replace the Decatur Book Festival or the Alabama Book Festival, but it’s fun to hang out there for a bit.
Hope you are doing well these days and are surrounded by some good books.