First and foremost it is work that is reader-centred. It starts with the reader and the individual reading experience, not the author, or the subject, or the theme of a book. In reader development work the aim is to concentrate on the act of reading itself.
Reader development sells the reading experience and what it can do for you, rather than selling individual books or writers. It builds the audience for literature by moving readers beyond brand loyalty to individual writers, helping them develop the confidence to try something new.
Reader development is a phrase that is now used in government reports, annual library plans and arts policies. Like other buzz phrases of the moment (Best Value, social inclusion) it's become a button to press and we all know we should be doing it but we're not always given the information or support to make it a reality. So it's important to begin with a clear definition of what is meant by reader development. Opening the Book invented the term in 1995 and their definition shapes the work of Branching Out:
Reader development means active intervention to: