Make Books Cool Again!

A glimpse at the target demographic for a monthly book subscription service.

Courtesy of USA Today

A Brief Backstory

Book of the Month Club was founded in 1926. And was once considered one of the most influential players in the book industry, says Forbes. To summarize the Book of the Month Club's extensive history, due to Amazon reshaping the way people made book purchases, Book of the Month Club had to evolve. In 2012, they relaunched Book of the Month as an online platform. However, it was not until 2015 that it became a subscription service. This style has shown to be the most profitable. In 2017, Book of the Month hit at least $10 Million in revenue.

What is Book of the Month?

Book of the Month is a book subscription service based in the United States. Members of Book of the Month choose from five book options at the beginning of every month. The five newly released hardcover books are from varying genres. As a subscriber, for March, I could choose from 2 historical fiction books, a literary fiction, a thriller, or a contemporary fiction book. The books are shipped and received by members of the subscription platform near the middle of the month. The service costs $14.99 each month and is about half the cost of the average hardcover book picked up from a bookstore. You can add-on books to your order for $9.99.

Courtesy of Book of the Month

Consumers are sometimes overloaded with all of the possible choices they can make. The idea is that book lovers receive curated books that they will — or should technically — love by mail and won’t have to do extensive research. Sometimes it takes longer to decide on a book than it does to consume the material. Book of the Month takes the hassle out of book buying!

Target Market

Book of the Month is targeting women in their 20s and their 30s. These women are familiar with subscription services such as Stitch Fix and FabFitFun. John Lippman (Book of the Month — CEO) summed up the ideal audience in an interview with Forbes in 2017. “That is an audience that shops online and has [an]enthusiasm for subscription lifestyle services.”

How I would market to their target market

Book of the Month is quite active on social media. They currently have 1 Million followers on Instagram. I think they should continue to post on social media and connect with Millennials.

Instagram: @bookofthemonth

I have also seen Book of the Month collaborate with influencers on social media, including YouTube, to promote Book of the Month services. Admittedly, this is how I found out about the subscription service.

Booktuber Cindy Phan (@withcindy) — Sponsored Video

Meet Becca, the avid book buyer persona

Becca, 24 years old, graduated from her Master’s program this past Spring and has started her first real job — a step above an entry-level position — at a start-up social media marketing firm in a trendy downtown area. She is currently single and looking for love. Becca is a bit of a hopeless romantic and finds herself drawn to reading contemporary fiction in her free time. However, she has an extensive reading collection ranging from classics to psychological thrillers to cheesy romance novels. On average, she reads 25 to 30 books a year. She tracks her to-be-read books and current reads on Goodreads and likes to give books star ratings once she is finished.

Unique Selling Points

What sets Book of the Month apart from other book and literary subscription services is that the subscriber chooses the book sent to them. They also can skip for the month if there is not a book that interests them. Most other book subscription services send members to surprise books that released during that month are anticipated releases or debut novels. For example, another subscription book service called Illumicrate costs around $30 to $60 after selecting the subscription-style, additional tax, and shipping (domestic or international). For April, Illumicrate is focusing on the theme — “Dearly Departed.” These subscription boxes also come with several “bookish” items and trinkets that match the box's theme. These boxes' audience tends to be Young Adult readers and those who enjoy Young Adult fiction and fantasy.

Resources:

Book of the Month Club. (n.d.-a). Five new books worth reading this month | Book of the Month. Retrieved March 21, 2021, from https://www.bookofthemonth.com/the-best-new-books

Book of the Month Club. (n.d.-b). How does Book of the Month work? | Why get a book subscription. Retrieved March 21, 2021, from https://www.bookofthemonth.com/how-it-works

Feldman, A. (2017, December 7). Book Of The Month Reinvents As A Subscription Box Business For Millennial Women. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestreptalks/2017/12/05/john-lippman-reinvents-book-of-the-month-as-a-subscription-box-business-for-millennial-women/?sh=6136c66f6dcf

Illumicrate. (n.d.). Illumicrate — For Book Lovers. Retrieved March 21, 2021, from https://www.illumicrate.com/

withcindy. (2019, August 1). ✨ AUGUST BOOK OF THE MONTH YA LOOKBOOK 👗 [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV0dNcSJHyY&feature=youtu.be

University of Florida Advertising Student