As founder & host of Mini Book Expo, Alexa took the practice of publishers sharing new titles for free with industry insiders, bookstore employees and libraries and extended it in an innovative way so publishers could connect their new titles with their readers and customers worldwide.
Mini Book Expo ran from 2006 to 2008. In the final season of Mini Book Expo, the community consisted of 505 bloggers from 11 different countries spanning the world, and 72 publishers & authors; and 465 titles and 1185 individual books were claimed, distributed and reviewed.
Participants got access to a wide range of books and topics to review in a single easy-to-use system. Publishers and authors got access to a new global audience of influencers. Mini Book Expo also acted as a content platform providing visibility for publisher’s new titles and authors outside their own online properties.
The rules for bloggers were simple Claim it – Read it – Blog it.
In exchange for publishers and authors sharing their new titles, participants committed to writing something about the books they received – good, bad or indifferent – on their blogs, social networks and/or on MiniBookExpo.com.
In 2008, Mini Book Expo expanded to include a specific Business Edition of Mini Book Expo which was hosted on OneDegree.ca, providing publishers and bloggers a dedicated business audience for their books and reviews.
While a handful of publishers had reader-programs, Mini Book Expo democratized the process for smaller publishing houses, self-published authors and indie presses. It also allowed the titles to gain some international visibility with a small investment.
By removing the direct connection between the publisher and the reviewers, Mini Book Expo reduced some bias while still connecting readers with new titles that historically had only been made available to bookstore buyers and libraries.
The game element of Mini Book Expo gave titles more visibility since readers had to keep on top of which titles were released in order to claim titles they were interested in before someone else did. Risk was mitigated by limiting all readers to a maximum of 3 claimed books. Once a reader commented on one of their three books they were freed up to claim another title.
Providing a new channel for publishers and with a strong gaming element for participants, Mini Book Expo connected influential social media participants and publishers and authors.