Posted by: Katie | October 19, 2012

Gateway Books and Guerrilla Marketing

On my way into work this morning, I was musing about a couple of presentations I’m working on and will be delivering in the next couple of weeks. One of them is erotic fiction in libraries.

An issue that I’ve been struggling with since I first started talking about the topic is how to effectively promote erotic titles a library owns without drawing unnecessary attention from people who think fun is dictating what other people in their community can and cannot read. A guerrilla marketing technique I liked to employ when I worked in public libraries and had the duties of marketing the collection was to include readalike bookmarks in books. This morning, my thoughts turned to: but how do you determine which books will give those bookmarks the widest exposure?

Gateway books.

It’s a term I have not run across before, but it’s a concept I think all reader’s advisors are familiar with.

Gateway book – noun – title that entices a reader to further explore a genre/subgenre they have little to no experience reading.

Gateway books are the ones you want those readalike bookmarks in. Some examples:

  • Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James – Erotica/erotic fiction
  • Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – Epic fantasy
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Young Adult

As you can see from the examples above, three of the four are the basis for movies or a tv show with the fourth working its way through the production process as I type. For this reason alone, gateway books can and will change through the years.

Now that you’ve got the concept of gateway books fixed in your mind, what other titles would you classify as a gateway book and how would you exploit the status in your marketing efforts?



  1. I am not sure this is even possible, but it would be great if when a user searched for a book in the catalog an option popped up that included similar titles. Similar to what Amazon does.

    • I think there are a few discovery tools that you can add to your library catalog that does this…LibraryThing for Libraries comes to mind.

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