Last Friday, we spent the day at Random House as media sponsors of their first-ever Open House.
As e-books become more popular, publishers are increasingly talking directly to readers instead of via the mediation of a bookstore or library. This event was a fascinating - and, we felt, successful - attempt to speak directly to fans of Random House's books, and create a more personal connection between the giant publisher and its customers.
We counted around 120 paying visitors, Random House tells us that close to 200 guests came to the event, who saw authors including Kurt Andersen, Anna Quindlen, and chef/author Marcus Samuelsson taking part in intimate discussions. There were also panels featuring Random House insiders who revealed how a bestseller is made and what books to buy as gifts, and a lunch themed around different Random House cookbooks.
Word Bookstore in Brooklyn created a popup store for the day, so fans could purchase books that the authors then signed, while the day ended with a wine tasting courtesy of Banfi Vinters.
See a video roundup of the day at the top of the page.