These fake news headlines tricked people into reading books

Litbaits campaign - The Picture of Dorian Gray
An example of the clickbait post shared on Facebook / Image: YouTube
A Dallas bookstore used clickbaits to draw Facebook users to articles that turned out to contain entire texts of classic novels.

Clickbait is a scammy tactic aimed at making people click on links to revenue-generating webpages. The tactic relies on sensational headlines and eye-catching thumbnail images.

A Dallas bookstore The Wild Detectives has found the way to turn the scam into good cause. Instead of clicking on ads, people were encouraged to read books.

On September 6, 2016 (a National Read a Book Day), the bookstore started sharing across its social media channels links to articles that were looking like a pure clickbait.

The sensational headlines turned out to be cleverly described plots of famous classic books.

Let’s have a look (and let’s see if you could resist clicking on the links):

Let’s say you are attracted by the headline about the first ever full-body transplant. You click on the link, and you directed to The Wild Detectives’ profile at Medium.

The headline is followed by a short introduction that explains the trick:

You fell for the bait, now fall for the book. Read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley below.

What you see below – and what you can start reading immediately – is the text of the book. What’s important, it’s the entire text, not a free sample or a first chapter.

It’s possible thanks to the fact that the books used for the campaign are already in public domain. It means they can be legally republished and reused.

The page of the Litbaits campaign with the full text of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

It was a very clever idea to put the novels on Medium publishing platform. The platform, founded by Ev Williams and Biz Stone, is perfect for long-form social journalism.

What’s also interesting, one of the default features Medium provides is read time, displayed at the top of the article. It informs about the approximate time you’ll need to finish reading. The calculation is based on the average reading speed of an adult – 275 word per minute.

The clickbait campaign aimed at encouraging people to enjoy literature is called Litbaits. It was prepared in cooperation with the Dallas-based multicultural marketing agency Dieste.

Adweek reports that Litbaits yielded a 14,000% boost in traffic to The Wild Detectives profile on Medium. It also increased post engagement on Facebook by 150%.

The creatives behind the campaign are Marta Matías, Jesse Echevarria, Marina Cuesta, and Raúl Méndez.

Litbaits – clever campaign using fake news to encourage people to read

Litbaits campaign by The Wild Detectives bookstore

Litbaits campaign - Romeo and Juliet

Litbaits campaign - The Picture of Dorian Gray

Litbaits campaign - The Scarlett Letter

Via Adweek.

• • •

To get more posts like this, please subscribe by RSS or email. Let’s also connect on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

More to explore:

Featured products - Moko cases for Kindle, iPad, and Amazon Fire

Tips and tricks

Nook Store - a guide to links, deals, sections, features

Nook Store – a guide to deals, special sections, and features

Browse Barnes & Noble’s ebookstore easily. This list includes most important links to Nook Store: deals, bestsellers, special features, help pages, and more.

The 2017 Apple iPad 9.7-inch

The 2017 iPad models – tech specs, comparisons, pics, and more

Apple has already released one of the planned 2017 tablets: the mid-range iPad 9.7. We’ll still have to wait for the iPad Pro 10.5.

Gift ideas

Kobo Aura One & Kobo Aura Edition 2 case covers

11 cases for Kobo Aura One and Aura Edition 2

The list includes original Kobo cases for Aura One and Aura Edition 2, as well as covers from other producers, found on Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and Rakuten.

Best Harry Potter gifts and accessories - full size

27 magical Harry Potter gifts and accessories

Check out the list of the most magical Harry Potter gifts – from jewelry to personal items, to posters and wall art, to scented candles, to clothing.

Best 50

Best Kindle case covers, sleeves, and accessories

50 best Kindle cases and accessories to buy in 2017

Find the best Kindle cases and accessories in one frequently updated list. It includes items not only from Amazon, but also Etsy, Caseable, eBay, and other sites.

50 most popular images about #books #reading and #libraries

50 most popular images about books, reading, and libraries

A list of images about books, reading, and libraries, that were most frequently shared on Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media networks.

Let's connect

Share a comment

If you want to discuss the topic or ask a question, please share this post on social media. Make sure to mention us!

You can also contact us directly. Find more details here.

Get free updates via email

Powered by MailChimp
You'll receive email digests on Fridays at 2pm GMT / 10am EST.