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

Mapping Favourite Reading Sites

Last March I reported on favourite reading sites mentioned by those participating in the latest reader survey. How do these stack up against two dimensions of social reading: (1) the degree of socializing enabled and (2) the breadth of functionality provided?

Here’s my take on it. It’s interesting to me to see the proliferation in the bottom left quadrant. 

Please note that the position of each bubble is approximate as I wanted to make sure that you could read each one.

Social Reading & Reading Sites


Search sites – Bing and Google for example

Industry sites – Harper Collins was mentioned

Social media – Twitter and Facebook fit in this category

Traditional – online sites created by traditional media such as The Guardian

Author sites – Elizabeth Chadwick has a popular one

Book Blogs – hundreds mentioned by survey participants

Retailers – Amazon and others

Forums – example Historical Fiction Online

Fan Sites – Diana Gabaldon has several

Reading Sites – Goodreads is the biggest one (that’s why Amazon bought it)

Open to your feedback as always.

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. Her debut novel, UNRAVELLED: Two wars. Two affairs. One marriage. is also available from these retailers.

Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.