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August 08, 2007

BookTour.com and Amazon

BookTour.com, the site which links touring authors with readers, has a cool new feature which takes advantage of the fact that many readers are also customers of Amazon.com. If you give BookTour your Amazon credentials, it logs into Amazon, finds out what authors’ books you’ve been buying, and then lets you know by email or RSS when these authors are touring near you.

This supplements a feature which BookTour has had since the beginning: you can tell BookTour explicitly which authors you’re interested in meeting if they should be nearby and have it alert you to their upcoming appearances. You can also use BookTour to invite your favorite authors to your book club, library, or store.

Only those authors who have currently signed up with BookTour.com will get added to your profile. There is this chicken and egg thing with new web services that match providers and consumers. Providers don’t have much incentive to sign up until consumers do; consumers don’t have much incentive until there are providers. But, full disclosure, I’m signed up as an author with BookTour.com so; if you bought hackoff.com: an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble or “The Interpreter’s Tale” (an Amazon short) from Amazon, you’ll find me on your author list automagically if you use this new feature.

Once your Amazon authors have been added, you can manually delete the ones you DON’T want to hear from or about.

Chris Anderson, cofounder of BookTour and author of The Long Tail, says that BookTour protects your privacy by promptly forgetting your Amazon credentials. You need to give them again in order to refresh your author list. I’d like to see this polite behavior be the default option with an override allowing the site to remember my Amazon credentials but this is just a quibble.

BookTour is free for both authors and readers although authors can buy ads. I haven’t tried that yet.

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