TalkShopLive (TSL), a streaming video shopping network, has teamed up with Walmart to launch the Walmart Live Book Club through its platform, which consists of an interactive app and website. The book club will go live this evening with Casey McQuiston’s I Kissed Shara Wheeler, published by St Martin’s Wednesday Books imprint.
According to TalkShopLive cofounder and CEO Bryan Moore, the book club is the latest edition to several live shopping programs the company holds for the retail giant. While TSL produces programs for a variety of products, books are one of the company’s oldest, and biggest, categories. It entered the book market in spring 2019 when it teamed up with ReaderLink, which continues to power TSL’s book business.
To support the launch of the Walmart Book Club, David Barker, executive vp and chief marketing officer for ReaderLink, said its marketing team made recommendations to Walmart about which authors may be the best fit for its book club based on upcoming releases and on sales trends at Walmart. ReaderLink then contacted publishers to gauge authors’ interest in participating in the club and determined the best timing for the authors’ appearance of TSL.
Authors who appear on any TSL show are free to interact with customers in any way they wish, Moore said. Some appear in highly-produced shows, such as the appearance by James Patterson and Dolly Parton in support of their Run, Rose, Run, while others, such as Matthew McConaughey’s campaign for Greenlights, take a more laid back approach. “The goal is to create a personal connection for fans,” Moore said. For each part, McQuiston will be talking about the book and taking viewer questions.
The Walmark Book Club launch will appear both on the TSL website as well as on the Walmart site. After its initial showing, the video will be embedded on both sites and authors have the option (which most take) to embed the video on their own sites and their publisher’s sites. Moore said many authors sold up to 7,000 copies of their book within 24 hours of the airing of an episode. Customers can order the book directly from the video. As it does for all TSL book shows, ReaderLink fulfills all orders.
Scores of authors have appeared on TSL shows over the years, and Moore said TSL’s book sales are up 300% over the first half of 2021. McQuiston said taking part in the Walmart Book Club will give more people a chance to have access to her book. “Accessibility is so important for teen readers who don’t have a local bookstore or library that spotlights—or even carries—queer stories,” McQuiston said. “I was one of those kids myself, but I devoured any book I could find on supermarket shelves. I know many kids still do. Imagining young people all over the country discovering a book like Shara through Walmart means the world to me.”
Other authors set to appear on the Walmart Book Club include Colleen Hoover, who will discuss Verity August 25; Erin Sterling, author of The Kiss Curseand Jennifer Lynne Barnes, author of The Final Gambit, will make separate appearances in September.