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BookTour.com is closing up shop

Booktourdotcom

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

BookTour.com, the website that sought to centralize information about author book tours, will close its doors on Sept. 1. BookTour was debuted in spring 2007 at Book Expo America by Wired editor Chris Anderson, the major figure behind the site.

So much has changed since 2007; facing increasing financial pressures, publishers have been cutting back on author book tours. Kevin Smokler, the site's manager, explained in a goodbye email:

Fewer author tours and changes in book marketing budgets have made our company financially unviable. And while we would like to continue providing the valuable service that is BookTour, everyone here has families to feed and bills to pay. As such, the founders are working on new and exciting ventures in publishing and software development.

Smokler recently moved on to the nonfiction e-publisher Byliner.com, which made a splash with its first piece, "Three Cups of Deceit," in which Jon Krakauer looked closely and skeptically at the work of bestselling author Greg Mortenson.

BookTour's problems may not have been solely the publishing environment; they may have partially been internal. As someone who often went to the site to try to find information about touring authors, I found its interface welcoming but its data thin. In early days, I could search for well-known authors that I knew were touring and come up with nothing. Sometimes partial tour data was available, but not all. Appearance schedules of authors who were coming to Los Angeles always included strange venues and significant gaps.

This was not entirely the fault of BookTour.com, which needed full cooperation with publishers in order to get the data it needed. Publishers are generally spotty about making their authors' book tour information available on their own sites -- some are good, some might be good depending on the author, some are just awful -- and as an outside entity BookTour undoubtedly faced extra hurdles.

Goodbye, BookTour.com. Want to find an author on tour? Try Google.

For the record, 10:34 a.m. Aug. 17: A previous version of this post discussed problems faced by Byliner. Those problems were faced by BookTour.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Image: Screenshot of BookTour.com

 
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