Clickbait for a good cause

A Texan bookstore’s ingenious internet campaign has used sensational, clickbait-styled headlines to trick people into reading some of history’s greatest books.

Most people would never call clickbait a good thing, yet The Wild Detectives bookstore has found a way to make it great.

The store calls its creative campaign ‘Litbaits’ and it uses contentious titles such as ‘When it’s okay to slut-shame single mothers – the answer might surprise you’. These titles appear to be classic clickbait. Difficult to resist, yes – but links that would often send you to some dodgy website are instead directed to pages that include the full text of copyright-free classic reads, such as, in the instance of the clickbait headline above, The Scarlet Letter. Each page is headed by “You fell for the bait, now fall for the book.”

Here are a few more clever Litbaits.




Now, see if you can guess to which books these Litbaits lead:




It goes without saying that anything that gets more people to read real books (not just Facebook, the sports pages or Taylor Swift biographies) is a good thing. We certainly tip our caps to The Wild Detectives for its fantastic use of social media, canny clickbait and truly marvellous intentions.

The concept behind the Litbaits experiment is explained in the video below, along with a full list of free novels on offer from The Wild Detectives.

Which one is your favourite? Can you create your own Litbait from a famous novel? Why not share it with our members?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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