University Presses & Libraries Turn to Pinterest to Promote Books

I’ll admit it: I’m not a big Pin­ter­est user. Until very recent­ly I thought the social net­work­ing site was a bit twee—too much about cute clothes and crafts, not enough about ideas.

Turns out the web’s 15th largest site has a lot more to offer.

Open Cul­ture has its own embry­on­ic Pin­ter­est page. But, more impor­tant­ly, uni­ver­si­ty press­es are mak­ing wide­spread use of Pin­ter­est to pro­mote new book titles. Like­wise, aca­d­e­m­ic libraries are using their Pin­ter­est pages to pro­mote events and help fund major cap­i­tal improve­ments. For libraries and archives, a major ongo­ing mis­sion is to keep the col­lec­tions vis­i­ble. It’s not easy to let the world know about your one-of-a-kind hold­ings, and Pin­ter­est poten­tial­ly offers a great way to bring these mate­ri­als to new and  younger audi­ences.

Big retail­ers haven’t fig­ured out how to make real mon­ey off of Pin­ter­est yet, though one the­o­ry holds that the site’s high­ly visu­al nature puts peo­ple in the mood to click and buy. True or not, uni­ver­si­ty press­es and libraries need all the help they can get to gin up sales, so they’re wad­ing into the Pin­ter­est waters and see­ing what hap­pens.

Alice Northover has cre­at­ed a Tum­blr that cat­a­logues a few of the best uni­ver­si­ty press­es that have Pin­ter­est pages. The list is a handy map of trea­sures to be found online.

There are the usu­al, and com­plete­ly worth check­ing out, sus­pects: Of course, Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty Press has a page that fea­tures, among oth­er things, inter­views with Har­vard Press authors. Watch math­e­mati­cian Paul Lock­hart, author of Mea­sure­ment, trip out on par­al­lel­o­grams.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Mis­sis­sip­pi has a robust pres­ence that fea­tures an exten­sive col­lec­tion of Faulkn­er crit­i­cism and appre­ci­a­tion.

Syra­cuse Uni­ver­si­ty’s page links to its audio archive, which includes a fun, episod­ic pro­gram called “Wait? They Banned What?”. You might be sur­prised to find out that Bing Cros­by song was banned dur­ing World War II for being too catchy.

One of the best may be one of the most unsung, how­ev­er. New Zealand’s Vic­to­ria Uni­ver­si­ty of Welling­ton’s library hous­es a major col­lec­tion of Samoan his­tor­i­cal objects. Check out the library’s repos­i­to­ry of amaz­ing South Pacif­ic his­to­ry.

These sites offer very few dec­o­rat­ing tips for your Air Stream trail­er, and I found no links to loca­vore jam-mak­ing busi­ness­es, but Alice, whomev­er she may be, has cre­at­ed a great cura­to­r­i­al tool for explor­ing a new trend in book pro­mo­tion.

But wait. Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty Press has a pin on its page called “Lib­ri­an­ista” that links to short-hem­line clothes mod­eled by bespec­ta­cled cuties. I guess even the world’s old­est pub­lish­er gets to have a lit­tle fun.

Thanks to Kirstin But­ler for send­ing Alice’s Tum­blr our way.

Kate Rix is an Oak­land-based free­lance writer. See more of her work at .

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Comments (2)
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  • Margaret Rose STRINGER says:

    Alas! — even with­in infor­ma­tive and inter­est­ing sites like Open Cul­ture there is no get­ting away from ‘social net­work­ing’.

    Amongst all those broad­cast emails about the good old days and how dif­fer­ent were our lives, the most out­stand­ing point, imn­sho, is that we had no need to obses­sive­ly and com­pul­sive­ly tell every­one else in the world about what’s going on in our heads. Or lives.

    I do not look for­ward to the day when,if you want to use the WWW, it becomes com­pul­so­ry to do so via this hideous method­ol­o­gy.

  • Ruben says:

    Hey there! This is kind of off top­ic but I need some help from an estab­lished blog.
    Is it very dif­fi­cult to set up your own blog? I’m not very tech­in­cal but I can fig­ure things out pret­ty quick. I’m think­ing about set­ting up my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any points or sug­ges­tions? Thank you

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