Sunday, June 29, 2008

Progressive Book Club Creates Fresh, Vibrant Online Marketplace

Progressive Book Club has launched its new website at, bringing a fresh, vibrant online marketplace and community to millions of avid readers and progressive thinkers nationwide.

Progressive Book Club is a new hybrid business that adds original and unique elements to the traditional book club model, including dynamic social networking capabilities, socially responsible purchases, topical content and thought-provoking political commentary. By tapping into the convergence of several trends, Progressive Book Club expects to build a substantial membership base from a diverse pool of 63 million self-identified socially responsible consumers and 72 million+ registered Democratic voters. Online books sales are also growing at astounding rates, accounting for 21 percent of all books purchased in the U.S. (Forrester Research).

"As Americans become increasingly involved with the political process and concerned about our nation's direction, the progressive movement is at a critical crossroads," said Elizabeth Wagley, Progressive Book Club founder and CEO. "We've created an innovative platform that encourages people to explore important issues and engage in debate, while empowering them to learn more - and do more - to make a difference."

Progressive Book Club has recruited an impressive roster of editorial board members that includes prominent authors, journalists, academics and veteran politicos, including Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers, Barbara Kingsolver, Hendrik Hertzberg, Gail Sheehy, Katrina vanden Heuvel, John Podesta and Andy Stern. The editorial board is responsible for selecting the Club's inventory of books and recommends additional content to complement monthly book selections.

"As the range and quality of books featured in Progressive Book Club show, there is resurgence in progressive thinking about how to tackle the problems now crashing down upon us," said Bill McKibben, author, environmentalist and Progressive Book Club editorial board member. "It's clear from looking at our political landscape that right-wingers are running out of ideas. Not progressives."

Unlike traditional book clubs and many bookstores, Progressive Book Club offers members the chance to give back with their book purchases. More than two dozen of the country's leading progressive organizations have signed on as Alliance Partners to help extend the Club's reach and mobilize the broader community, including Campaign for America's Future, Center for American Progress, Kos Media, Media Matters for America, Mother Jones, The Nation and the Service Employees International Union. With nearly every book purchase by its members, Progressive Book Club will donate $2 to support a progressive organization of the member's choosing dealing with such issues as environmental stewardship, public education, domestic violence and media reform.

Progressive Book Club makes book buying easy, offering members the opportunity to purchase the latest non-fiction and fiction books covering a broad range of topics from health care, the environment, religion and globalization to the economy. To join, members must simply select three books for $1 each and then can buy books at prices that are 10%-40% off list prices. With additional sales and specials throughout the year, members will save as much as 70%-80% off list price on select titles over the course of membership. Individuals can also choose to simply register with the Club's website if they want to participate and experience the Club before joining.

Members will have the opportunity to interact with authors, progressive opinion leaders and fellow members offline - at local events, readings and book discussions - as well as online in a lively forum designed to foster healthy debate and discussion. The site also features an interactive calendar, allowing members to tag, rate and review books, create a discussion, create a group or meet up with someone nearby to discuss a book.

"The Progressive Book Club is one of those things that when you hear about it, you say, 'How come we didn't think of that years ago?'" said Dave Eggers, author and Progressive Book Club editorial board member. "It's about time, and it's about great books."

"We're happy to be partnering with the Progressive Book Club and thrilled that recently released titles such as Arianna Huffington's 'Right Is Wrong' and Steven Greenhouse's 'The Big Squeeze' will be promoted by the club," said Sean Yule, Knopf's Director of Domestic Rights. "And, personally, as a liberal and a bit of a political junkie, I'm glad to know that there is one place I can go to find books that address my concerns."

Each month, the editorial board will identify a "PBC Pick" selection for members. The Progressive Book Club website will provide content in the form of videos, audio files, interviews and additional reading recommendations to help bring the issues to life and deepen reader understanding and discussion. The "PBC Pick" selection for June is 'The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker', written by acclaimed journalist Steven Greenhouse. As the downturn in the economy and the threat of job loss permeates America's collective consciousness, the news and the election discourse, this book offers an examination of the profound economic fears faced by millions of Americans, across the political spectrum.

"Progressive Book Club's appearance tells me that after decades of conservative dominance, we are entering a new era of political and cultural discourse," said Jeff Faux, Distinguished Fellow, Economic Policy Institute, and Progressive Book Club editorial board member. "The extraordinary depth and breadth of its offerings - and the PBC program to support face-to-face and online reader communities - reflects that our time has come again; liberal intellectual energies, long suppressed, are about to flower in the mainstream of our literary life."


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