But times are changing. From 2002 to 2008, book sales overall grew 1.6%. For book clubs and mail order, the growth rate was -5.7%. In other words, sales shrank.
But Progressive Book Club, or PBC, is trying to buck the trend. Ad Age reports that PBC is not a book club, but a "book community. Members can discuss their views online in community discussion forums and read exclusive content from highly regarded writers and journalists. PBC also offers a unique book-reading and charity-giving combination; books are selected for their liberal bent by a renowned editorial board (members include Michael Chabon, Dave Eggars and Erica Jong) and $2 of the proceeds from each book sale go to one of the participating nonprofits."
"PBC does all of its marketing online, including significant e-mail campaigns to select lists, search advertising and some online banner ads. It secures the e-mail distribution lists through partnerships with 45 nonprofit organizations, including Mother Jones and Air America. PBC is an e-commerce outlet only, and it does not communicate with customers by mail -- nor does it offer them a "bill me later" option, something that once was synonymous with such clubs but came with hassles around payment."
Read more about book clubs here.