PBS to Launch “The Great American Read” TV Series

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On July 30, PBS announced plans to launch The Great American Read, a new eight-part television series and nationwide campaign that aims to spark a national conversation about books and reading. The series and campaign will debut in spring 2018.

The American Booksellers Association is partnering with PBS on a number of initiatives related to The Great American Read, to be announced in the coming months.

In the spring, a multi-platform digital and social campaign will lead up to the reveal of 100 books selected by the American public and an advisory panel of literary professionals, including bookseller Aaron Curtis from Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida.

The eight-part television series will kick off in May and will feature notable members of the entertainment, sports, news, and literary worlds discussing their personal connections to their favorite books. Voting to select best-loved books will take place throughout the summer, and the series will culminate in September with a national vote to choose “America’s Best-Loved Book.”

Six episodes in the series will look at nominated books with the themes of “Being American,” “Heroes,” “Growing Up,” “What We Do for Love,” and more. Throughout the summer, PBS stations will partner with local organizations and booksellers to inspire the next generation of readers through library, education, and community initiatives.

“PBS and its member stations are thrilled to kick off a summer of reading with The Great American Read,” said Beth Hoppe, PBS chief programming executive and general manager, general audience programming. “The time is right for this nationwide reading initiative that will encourage conversations and complementary activities in communities across the country. We can’t wait to see what America chooses!”

The Great American Read will speak to all Americans,” said Jane Root, CEO of Nutopia, which is producing the show. “These books tell our story, explore our passions, and celebrate the depth and range of our culture. Which book will win? I don't know, but I’m super excited to follow the journey and find out.”