Are You Bookurious?
As you can probably tell from reading this blog, I’m especially interested in Canadian literature for teens and Canadian YA resources. I’ve already written about the online teen reading club, TeenRC.ca (which sadly, is ending in September). Recently, I learned of another online community for Canadian teen readers: Bookurious.com.
Bookurious.com is an online community operated by Random House Canada. It is designed especially for avid Canadian readers aged 13 to 17 and uses the custom social network plaform, Ning. The site invites teens to talk with other members about their favourite books, help others discover new authors, and participate in challenges and giveaways.
Bookurious was launched in September 2009 and is just about to celebrate its’ first anniversary. While Random House Canada had been running an adult “avid readers” community, BookLounge.ca, for several years, they weren’t seeing anything similar for younger readers in Canada and wanted to provide the same kind of community experience for teens. “To help us get the site off the ground, we put out a call to employees and friends to help recruit the young readers they knew,” says Tan Light, Bookurious moderator and Digital Coordinator at Random House Canada. “We started with a team of about 25 teens who wanted to work with us in establishing what the Bookurious community should look like.” Today, the site has around 600 members.
At Bookurious, teens will find a wide variety of reading suggestions and booklists compiled by Random House staff. One of the most interesting lists I discovered was “21 Books to read before you graduate” which is an interesting mix of new and classic YA and adult titles. I also really liked the list of recommended Mystery titles. “Our reading suggestions are made up our [Random House] books to start, because these are the books we know best,” says Light. “But that is a jumping off point for our members to talk about books in that theme and to make their own suggestions to each other—no matter the publisher.”
Bookurious members are encouraged to share reviews and blog posts about what they are reading. Many members use their Bookurious blogs to keep track of their progress in various reading challenges. For example, there’s a Summer Reading Scavenger Hunt going on right now which looks like a lot of fun. Reading challenges like these, says Light, “encourage our members to go beyond their regular interests.”
I’ve been poking around the site for the last few weeks, and I have to say, I’m impressed with how active it is. There’s a lot of great teen-generated discussion going on. Although the privacy rules and regulations are not as stringent as TeenRC.ca however, the site is well moderated and there are clear guidelines for web safety.
While Bookurious has grown rapidly in large part due to word-of-mouth, the site also uses Facebook to connect with teen readers. The Bookurious team also appears at public book events such as Word on the Street. Rumour has they give out some very cool buttons. Look for them at the Random House tent.