Romance Classics will add Book Marks as a 13-week
original series in December, with each showcasing a "first look" at one new book
and its author.
The premiere of the series -- which will feature
contemporary fiction and nonfiction just prior to publication -- is being timed for the
heavy Christmas book-buying season.
The network will wait until closer to airdate before
deciding on content for its initial episodes, a spokeswoman said last Thursday.
The network initially tested the "first-look"
concept in November, with Judith Krantz's TheJewels of Tessa Kent.
Having programming about books also makes sense for the
female-oriented network because "85 percent of all books are bought by women,"
Romance Classics president Kate McEnroe said.
In addition, the network will step up its book-related
marketing ties with both retail and Web outlets, Romance senior vice president and general
manager Martin von Ruden said.
Barnes & Noble will remain a key partner in those
efforts. In addition to point-of-sale displays plugging Book Marks at its retail
outlets, Romance will promote the new books' availability at the chain on-air, a
In some cases, Romance will run contests in conjunction
with the retailer that give viewers the chance to win copies of a new book prior to its
As another example of its increased emphasis on books,
Romance will run a marathon of movies in November based on Jane Austen novels, under the
theme, "Austen Power!" That stunt will be promoted in 500 Barnes & Noble