The Fussy Librarian – a new approach to book discovery

The Fussy LibrarianA friend told me about The Fussy Librarian – the same friend who told me about BookBub which was a great success! So I contacted them to find out more about what they are trying to do and the Head Librarian (aka Jeffrey Bruner) graciously agreed to answer some questions about their book reading site.

According to their home page: “The Fussy Librarian emails you with the ebooks matching your unique interests and content preferences.” Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Read on to find out more.

Can you provide a little background on the beginnings of The Fussy Librarian and the goals for this site.

I had been a journalist for 25 years and realized a few years ago that the industry was in decline when I kept seeing my colleagues get layed off. It became apparent I needed a Plan B. I had done some writing — two short novels, two produced plays, and several unproduced screenplays — so I was familiar with ebooks.

Two years ago, I decided to launch The Fussy Librarian. I kept my day job for a year while growing the company. I reinvested all of the revenue during that first year. In October 2014 I quit my job to run the website full time. Other than marrying my wife, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made!

What do you feel are the most significant changes in the ways people discover and talk about books?

Social media has done a good job of filling the void left by traditional media’s abandonment of arts coverage. Readers have always wanted to share good finds, whether it’s an independent author or someone published by Random House. Social media has just made it much easier to spread the word.

What demographics are you seeing on your site? Male/female split? Age percentages? Country variations?

We did a reader survey earlier this year and found that 85% were female and 75% were age 45 or older. A majority are between the ages of 45 and 64.

Are some genres more popular on The Fussy Librarian than others? And if so, can you offer a perspective on why.

Romance — in all of its varieties — is very popular as are mysteries, especially cozy mysteries. Historical fiction also does surprisingly well.

How are publishers responding to sites like The Fussy Librarian?

Publishers love us and we work with many of the biggest ones. They know email marketing is highly targeted and affordable. Many of them have started digital-only imprints with titles selling for $2.99 or $3.99. It’s going to be a while before they bring down the ebook prices of their biggest names, but you’ll see that eventually as contracts come up for renewal.

What should authors do differently as the landscape for book discovery and book discussions changes?

Be flexible and keep experimenting to see what works for you. Authors need to be marketers, too — it’s no longer an option. You’ve got to do it if you want to succeed.

What new features are you planning for The Fussy Librarian?

We added real-time scheduling for authors this summer, so they can re-run promotions and get the date they want. We also added multi-genre promotions, so you can reach readers in three different genres at the same time for a small additional fee.

Our newest feature is a free Kindle book widget that can be installed on any website that accepts Javascript. It automatically updates each day, so it’s matter of pasting code once and you’re done. And if you’re an Amazon Associates member, we can set it up so you get commissions on that pair a shoes someone buys after downloading a free book. We think it’s a great way to boost free book downloads and help website owners make some extra money at the same time.

Many thanks, Jeffrey.

It seems to me whether you’re a reader or an author, you should investigate The Fussy Librarian!

Update Oct 2016: You might also be interested in two recent posts on book discovery: The Evolving World of Book Reviews parts one and two.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)


M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union on August 16, 2016. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website

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9 Responses

  1. What an interesting article, thank you for bringing The Fuzzy Librarian (love the name) to our attention. The demographics are exactly where my writing should be, but I have been concerned about how much this group of women actually use Social Media and read via e-readers or tablets; my research has indicated that the use of e-readers, in this group was small. However I don’t agree, but I’m not an expert so I am thrilled to hear about Jeffery Bruner’s success. Thanks again

    1. Hi Susan – you might want to check out my reader surveys – some interesting data on use of social media and online sources for book discovery and book discussion. People of all ages are enthusiastic users, and it appears women are higher users than men.

  2. Great article! As an author, I’ve used Fussy Librarian as well and gotten decent results. I also recommend BookBub (if you can get accepted!), Ereader News Today, and Robin Reads. Also, along with another author, I started BookStar (, which focuses on books by women and for women. Next time you do a promotion, check us out! The full list of genres we accept is on our site. Good luck with your promos!

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