A Local Bookstore Brilliantly Used Clickbait to Get People Excited About Fiction Again

Classic literature + clickbait headlines = Internet gold!

There’s no denying print has taken a hit in the digital age. But a local bookstore decided to give the Internet a run for its money.

Workers at The Wild Detectives bookstore in Dallas knew clickbait was a tried-and-true way to get online readers to check out a link. So they decided to see if it could also gear up interest for classic novels. After all, those stories tend to be even juicier than the latest celebrity gossip.

via facebook.com/litbaitsIn a “Litbaits” campaign, the bookstore’s comic geniuses turned literature into irresistibly snappy headlines.

The Picture of Dorian Gray cheekily became “British guy dies after a selfie gone wrong.” Romeo and Juliet was spruced up as “Teenage girl tricked boyfriend into killing himself.” The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde got an alarmist twist as “New synthetic drug is turning Londoners into violent maniacs.”

via facebook.com/litbaitsLinks from the posts sent readers to the full text of the classic stories on The Wild Detectives’ Medium page.

And it worked—the clickbait caught some curious readers. After the campaign launched, The Wild Detectives site got 14 times more traffic than usual, plus a 150 percent increase in engagement on Facebook.

via facebook.com/litbaitsIf clever headlines won’t get you to pick up more books, maybe this will: Science says reading fiction could make you a better person. Time to dig out that library card!

MORE: 14 Books You Really Should Have Read By Now

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Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.