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I Want My Author TV

Building book buzz using the written word's worst enemy

How do you encourage an MTV-addicted generation to choose books over TV? Hire marketing "rock stars" of your own, according to Emily Powell of family-owned Powell's Books, the nation's largest independent bookstore, whose sales are in the eight figures.

With help from Doug Biro, a former creative director at RCA Records who has directed music videos for superstars like Christina Aguilera, Powell is producing a series of 25-minute author films, the first of which premiered red carpet-style at more than 40 independent bookstores nationwide this past summer, as well as on YouTube. Powell believes this virtual author tour will not only promote writers who prefer not to travel, but also draw a wider out-of-state demographic to the Portland, Oregon, company's website, which already brings in an average of 90,000 visitors a day.

"This was our opportunity to fill a void that exists for our customers," says Emily, 28. "[It was] a chance to reach a wider audience, get them talking. What's in it for us is the ability to keep playing in this industry of ideas."

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This article was originally published in the November 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: I Want My Author TV.

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