Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Penguin Books Offers Dating Service in U.K.

At first glance, the idea of a major publisher branching out into a cheesy dating service seems more than a bit silly. After all it's tough enough to sell books these days, so any kind of business plan diversification that takes away from that main focus seems to be at least somewhat risky.

But considering how ineffective (and sometimes dangerous) existing dating services seem to be, this might actually turn out to be a good thing. Book lovers are passionate about their reading, and finding someone equally passionate to match up with is a huge head start in a world so dumbed-down that Britney Spears and Madonna seem worthy of attention to so many people.

Penguin might even sell some books in the process.

Sky News has the details:
Penguin says readers will be offered a place to meet and indulge in the age old art of writing love letters as the boom in online dating fast restores the importance of the written word to modern courtship'.

Subscribers will be asked to write about the last book they read in their online profile and will then be able to search the profiles of thousands of other book lovers.

Jason Stockwood, Managing Director International at match.com added: "This partnership gives us a unique opportunity to successfully match lovers of literature."

"The written word has become increasingly important in modern day romance and the process of falling in love because online dating has returned us to the romantic notions of traditional letter writing."
Who knows? It might just work.


  1. Ha!

    When I lived in Boston, there was a local radio station that started a dating service. Their tag line: "You already know you like the same kind of music!" Um...right.

  2. This sounds crazy. As for the love letters idea, well, in the old days people had (I believe) already met and established a relationship with the person they were writing to!

  3. "Traditional letter writing"? Please. "OMG, r u sure? Lol!" is a far cry from letter writing and there's nothing traditional about it. Beyond quick, email-like messages and instant chats, I don't see how anything remotely resembling traditional letter writing has re-emerged. It's still mostly text messages and phone calls.

    Other than that, the idea of hooking up with other book lovers is definitely an interesting gimmick. I guess time will tell if it'll catch on or not.

    Personally, I still have a very negative connotation with any form of online dating, even though it is supposedly more safe and socailly acceptable now.

  4. It's a fine idea for a slightly older demographic who will appreciate the romance of it, and the old fashioned, letter-writing-reemerging marketing spin. The under 40 set, though, may not warm to this idea.

    For a younger set, maybe they should have something in bookstores that are a bit quicker, like the 2-minute dating phenom, that isn't tied to courtship. Then you could have people just looking to hook up, people looking for more, and still possibly sell books. Meeting through Penguin sounds really lame.

  5. You all make some great, and telling, points about this idea.

    I have to admit that I'm a little surprised that no one, so far, thinks that this is a good idea.

    Personally, I don't think I would ever use this kind of service, but I was trying to keep an open (and younger) mind about it...just shows I should have gone with my instinct that it really is a cheesy idea. :-)

    I sure can't see that it will sell a whole lot of books for Penguin...and that's got to be what they hope happens from this.

  6. Jeanne, Boston, and Annie, you make some great points about traditional letter writing. That is truly a dead art, I'm afraid, and something that has absolutely zero appeal to the younger set...all that texting has already killed off their grammar and spelling skills, anyway.

  7. Mella, sounds like that radio station had exactly the same idea...doesn't sound as if it worked.