AOL Launches First Read Book Preview Service

Posted on October 11, 2002

America Online has launched a service called First Read, which allows AOL users to preview upcoming book releases. AOL kicked off First Read by offering its members a sneak peek at the first chapter of Lemony Snicket's children's book, The Carnivorous Carnival, which is due out in bookstores in late October. AOL's Personal Finance Channel is offering excerpts from Rich Dad's Prophecy, the latest entry in Robert T. Kiyosaki and co-author Sharon L. Lechter's popular Rich Dad series, which offers advice about investing and saving for the future.

First Read builds on AOL's "First Listen," which has given members exclusive first chances to hear releases from such artists as Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart. The book previews are expected to become a regular feature on AOL. AOL's First Read features will not focus exclusively on books from its Time Warner Book Group. Rich Dad's Prophecy is published by Warner Books, which is part of AOL Time Warner. However, Lemony Snicket's books are published by Harpercollins, which is a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Jim Bankoff, Executive Vice President of AOL Brand Operations said, "There's no better way than this to premiere First Read. Lemony Snicket's young fans are as persistent in seeking out his work as the mysterious author himself is in tracking the misadventures of the Baudelaire children. We're thrilled that AOL members will get a sneak peek at the book a few weeks earlier than their friends. It's the first example of how our First Read feature will keep AOL's community of book lovers a step ahead of the rest of the world."

In addition to the First Read feature, AOL's Parenting Channel will continue the Lemony Snicket misery throughout the month. Additional promotions during October include: an Unfortunate Name Generator, a live chat, an exclusive screensaver and Buddy Icons that let everyone who gets an instant message know that they're communicating with a Snicket fan. Members can also enter a contest to win a signed copy of The Carnivorous Carnival, view the book's cover art and print the "Lemony Snicket Day Countdown Calendar" for the month of October. Members will also be able to pre-order books which will begin to be delivered on Oct. 29.