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THE SCOOP FROM BRAD & LISSA

Connecting All Literati

While bricks-and-mortar bookstores are sometimes viewed as reluctant to embrace the digital world, Politics & Prose has taken increasingly to social media and other digital platforms to connect with readers, authors, publishers, and fellow booksellers across the country and around the world.

Over the past year, our marketing director, Lena Little, has overseen P&P’s expanded presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr in ways we could not have imagined even a short time ago. Today, we have about 30,000 followers through these combined sites, and the numbers are growing each month. (Follow us on Facebook: politicsandprose; Twitter: @politics_prose; and Tumblr: politicsprose.tumblr.com. Or for kids-related news, Twitter: @kidsandprose and Tumblr: kidsandprose.tumblr.com.)

Through these outlets we now alert followers to upcoming events, tickets going on sale, future classes and trips, and store giveaways. We also use the platforms to talk about titles we recommend, classics we’re revisiting, and what’s going on at the store at any given moment. We hold conversations with authors due to appear at the store, and we interact with readers interested in sharing their own P&P experiences. Increasingly, too, we find ourselves answering queries online about whether a book is in stock or signed copies of a particular title are available.

One of our most popular ongoing posts is called “from the floor.” There we share unusual, evocative, or heartwarming comments heard by our staff while shelving, working at the register, or otherwise going about their day. Our favorite to date? “I’m going upstairs now to count Hobbits.”

On Tumblr, which allows for micro-blogs and more visual content than Facebook and Twitter, we host original material (reviews, interviews, industry news) in a form that is easily shared across the seemingly endless number of social networks. Whether it’s delightfully irreverent dog photos from author Jami Attenberg or seriously contemplative essays from Roxane Gay disguised as cooking posts, Tumblr allows us to provide readers with deeper insights into authors and their work.

Some of our Tumblr offerings, assembled by marketing assistant Dave Schuller, have included question-and-answer sessions with such authors as Amy Rowland, Jenny Offill, Duncan Tonatiuh, and Emma Donoghue. We’ve also featured bookseller Angela Spring’s National Poetry Month Q&As. These efforts have already been recognized with mentions by the websites Mashable and BookRiot, both recommending that their readers check out P&P’s Tumblr for great content. BookRiot also promoted the Tumblr from P&P's Children and Teens Department.

Also on our social media are staff reviews of books and photos of our author events. Additionally, P&P hosts a podcast every Friday morning on Slate. Called Live at Politics & Prose, the broadcasts feature author talks sponsored by the store and in recent months have included such prominent figures as Hillary Clinton, Ralph Nader, Michael Lewis, Walter Kirn, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Chua, and Mark Leibovich.

For those who prefer a visual format, P&P videographer Nick Price regularly tapes many of our events and posts the videos online for viewing by anyone who couldn’t make it to the store or simply wants to watch an event again. You can find our archive of videos here.

--Brad and Lissa