By ERIN ALLEN
The Library’s 10th annual National Book Festival garnered widespread press attention in the weeks and months leading up to the highly anticipated event. Despite a competitive media environment and dwindling newsroom staff, outreach efforts proved extremely successful, resulting in more than 578 million impressions, including more than 73 print articles and more than 24 broadcast/radio hits.
Radio and broadcast coverage included interviews and live segments on NPR, Sirius XM Radio, Washington Post Radio, WMAL radio, and affiliates for NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox in Washington, D.C., and throughout the country.
In addition, online stories and blog posts totaled 5,649—the most in the festival’s history. Coverage appeared on Huffingtonpost.com, LATimes.com, WSJ.com, ESPN.com, Washingtonpost.com, MSNBC.com, School Library Journal Online, LibraryThing, DCist and About.com.
For the fifth year, an online pressroom on the Library’s website provided the media with background materials, high-resolution images, B-roll, podcasts of author interviews and other audiovisual resources.
A newly launched “Bookfest” tab on the Library’s Facebook page offered festival-specific content and interactive features to the nearly 30,000 existing friends of the institution.
The Washington Post, a charter sponsor of the National Book Festival, also ran a variety stories, including an editorial by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington the day before the event. The Librarian said, “In an era of 140-character messages and the increasing destruction of the basic unit of civilized discourse (the sentence), it is critical that we continue to encourage the production and reading of books.”
Other print coverage included The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Washingtonian and many other outlets.
“Though it feels like the National Book Festival has been around forever, it’s actually a somewhat recent event. But the fact the event has become so ingrained into the fabric of D.C. is a testament to the power of the written word as well as the setting,” said Robert Fulton of the Washington Examiner.
“Even though my own experience as a writer has been almost entirely grounded in the online world, I retain a deep and enduring love for reading books in their physical form from my childhood,” said Huffington Post writer Alexander Howard. “What made yesterday particularly special was that the authors of one of my most treasured books from my boyhood, ‘The Phantom Tollbooth,’ were at the festival to talk about their new book, ‘The Odious Ogre.’”
Several outlets, including The Hill and the Star-Telegram (Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas) highlighted the presentation given by former First Lady Laura Bush.
District-area college publications also ran announcements of the festival, including Georgetown’s The Hoya, University of Maryland Diamondback and Catholic University’s The Tower.
“Although the National Book Festival is an established event, it is still young and evolving,” said Diamondback reporter Kaitlin Bulavinetz, noting the first-ever appearance by a graphic novelist, Jeff Smith.
As in past years, festival sponsor C-SPAN taped select author presentations for national broadcast on BookTV. For its part, the Library taped all of the author presentations, many of which were scheduled for same-day broadcast on the Library’s National Book Festival website (www.loc.gov/bookfest/).
Erin Allen is a writer-editor in the Library’s Office of Communications