Amazon Book Club tackles free eBooks

Ganesh Sarma
Austin Hannah
Shane Burklow
March 6, 2018 - "Even if just a handful of people listen to us and enjoy what we do enough to come back every week, it's worth it."
Since 2017

►Tell us about you and your podcast

My name is Ganesh Sarma. Amazon Book Club was the brainchild of myself and two of my good friends, Austin Hannah and Shane Burklow. We all went to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA but have all since moved up to Brooklyn, NY at various points over the last few years. 

Amazon has a large selection of free eBooks for prime members. Most are self-published by smalltime authors and quite frankly, aren't very good. We're on a quest to "read" as many of these as possible. I say "read" because we only read 5 pages from each book: The first page, 25% in, 50% in, 75% and the last page. In the meantime we try to figure out just what the hell is going on and have some fun along the way.

We've been pleasantly surprised with the diverse demo we've had thusfar; most of our listenership resides in NYC, Virginia and California, but we've found we have a pretty wide net in terms of listenership geographically, even outside the US.


►Why & how did you start this podcast? 

Me, Austin and Shane had been kicking around podcast ideas for almost a whole year prior to December 2017, when we actually recorded the first episode of ABC. We've been dying to do something creative for a while, our focus turned specifically to podcasts in 2016. Prior to ABC, we'd originally planned on making a podcast called "Lost in the Amazon" where we basically found dumb products on Amazon and read awful reviews. "Amazon Book Club" was originally to be a segment on the larger show, but after recording two or three episodes of "Lost in the Amazon" we realized that the book club aspect of the podcast was the most consistently funny part of the show.


►How'd you find the time and funding to do this podcast?

We release weekly; typically we record Wednesdays, I edit on Sundays and we release Sunday night/Monday morning. Outside of recording and editing, our podcast is not time intensive at all. We spent a decent amount of money on gear to begin with, but that's really it thusfar. We don't have a problem supporting it ourselves because we have a bunch of fun making it.


►What do you gain from podcasting?        

We love making people laugh, but more importantly our podcast is something we're really proud of. Even if just a handful of people listen to us and enjoy what we do enough to come back every week, it's worth it.


►How does your podcasting process look like? 

We're using 3 $20 Behringer mics, a Behringer XENYX Q1202 USB mixer, and Audacity. Super economical setup. We typically eat cheeseburgers together and then just dive in. I decide on a book a day or so in advance but hide my choice from Austin and Shane because we want all of our jokes and content to be organic and "on the fly", so to speak. Because we don't really script anything and have a pretty simple show format, the process itself is pretty smooth. We only really have to stop recording if someone can't stop laughing or one of my cats does loud cat things.


►How do you market your show?

We are all over the place! But almost all of our traffic comes from iTunes/iPhone users. Facebook has probably been our best tool for audience outreach.


►What advice would you share with aspiring (new) podcasters?

Be patient because there's definitely a learning curve and shit doesn't just happen overnight. It'll take a handful of episodes to get into a routine and to get the editing bit down, and developing a following can take a long time. has been a valuable resource in optimally leveraging free editing software. Other than that, honestly just google searches.


►Where can we learn more about you & your podcasts?

And can be found wherever you listen to podcasts.

Updated: a year ago