Book of the Month’s Keen Understanding of their Target Audience: & Why It Works

Julia Collins
5 min readJul 3, 2021


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Book of the Month, originally formed in 1926, underwent a complete rebrand and overhaul in 2015. Their new model is the one they’ve stuck to to today, and it’s been quite successful so far. Basically, they’ve gathered a panel of qualified and diverse individuals to select five books each month. The books are typically new, written by relatively unknown authors and are all in different genres (thriller, romance, etc.). Book of the Month runs on a monthly subscription box-based service where members can choose one of the five books each month to read. The service costs $14.99 a month, and shipping is always free. Book of the Month in its current iteration has gained quite a bit of traction online; particularly within the YouTube community.

This subscription box service’s target market is primarily millennial women aged 20–35 who are already familiar with subscription services like Ipsy, Birchbox and BarkBox. “Older readers tend to have favorite authors who have written many books, but younger readers are looking to find their favorite authors. And generally speaking it is younger women who sign up for subscription services like Birchbox and Stitch Fix. That is an audience that shops online and has enthusiasm for subscription lifestyle services,” (Feldman). These women either already read, want to get back into reading or just haven’t found the right book for them yet. That’s the gap in the market Book of the Month intends to fill — helping women find the books they’ll love. “Amazon is not a very good place to discover what you will like,” (Feldman). Additionally, millennial women have a bit more disposable income than Generation Z women, but millennials are looking to find new authors more than older women.

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The unique selling point Book of the Month has is that they aim to help people find their new favorite book. No other book provider or service is based around sifting through the thousands of books that come out every month and curating it down to the five best for you. Amazon simply ships books, Goodreads can recommend books based on what you’ve read before but they don’t sell them, and Barnes and Noble tends to favor displaying the newest books by the most prominent authors rather than new or unknown authors. “The power of literature to touch our lives remains as strong today as it was ninety years ago, however, as does the desire of readers everywhere to find the next great book,” (Silverman, preface). Book of the Month takes the best bits of each type of literary-based business and gives its customers just that; a unique experience.

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It is quite important to know your target market for any company, however it is vital to the success of Book of the Month for multiple specific reasons. When Book of the Month first started in 1926, the panel of members who selected the book of the month were all highly regarded in the literary community, some authors, and overall carried an air of prestige and gatekeeping to reading. “Hence, the array of intellectual loyalties and personal styles on the original Book-of-the-Month Club Board of Judges embodied the enduring definition of the cultured person as the disciplined, self-reliant, well-read individual,” (Rubin, page 805). However, in this re-thought out, modernized Book of the Month, the game has changed. The panel of judges still has to have a deep understanding of literature, culture and more, but knowing the target audience of this new Book of the Month was also important with who is on the Board of Judges. If the board consisted of a few straight, white, cisgender, older men, that wouldn’t make sense.

The target audience is millennial women, and millennial women are not only diverse as a group, but they, on the whole, value diversity, learning new things, broadening their horizons and also want to see themselves reflected in the books they read. Knowing that this is who the target audience is for this company means that they need to have a board that includes all genders, millennials, and diversity in race, sexual orientation, religion, and more. Otherwise, the books chosen would not appeal to the target audience at all. Additionally, knowing the target audience of this company is important for social media marketing as well. Millennial women most use the platforms of Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, so that’s where the targeted ads should be focused at.

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“I heard about Book of the Month (BOTM) from a dear friend (also a Millennial) and dedicated reader. I am usually skeptical of commercially popular books, but I trusted her taste in literature and thought it might be fun, so I decided to give BOTM a try. My friend was not wrong,” (Tighe). Book of the Month clearly knows their target audience well, and continues to see success because of it.


Feldman, Amy. “Book Of The Month Reinvents As A Subscription Box Business For Millennial Women.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 7 Dec. 2017,

Rubin, Joan Shelley. “Self, Culture, and Self-Culture in Modern America: The Early History of the Book-of-the-Month Club.” The Journal of American History, vol. 71, no. 4, 1985, p. 782., doi:10.2307/1888504.

Silverman, Al ed. The Book of the Month: Sixty Years of Books in American Life. Little, 2016.

Tighe, Claire, and Shop TODAY. “How the Book of the Month Club Lifted My Mood during Covid-19.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 5 Apr. 2021,



Julia Collins

I’m a masters student at the University of Florida studying mass communication with a focus in journalism. Check out more at