"Litbait" Turns Classic Books Into Clickbait

If you love Internet games like #ExplainABookBadly, I've got your new favorite obsession. Started by a Dallas bookstore with a kickass Medium account, "litbait" turns classic books into clickbait to get people reading. Even if you hate clickbait with a passion, you'll still get a kick out of this viral Internet moment.

Here's how it works. The Wild Detectives bookstore publishes all or part of a classic book on Medium with a clickbait headline to sum up the story. "You'll never guess what happened to this Kansas teen after a tornado destroys her home," because she's whisked off to Oz to follow the Yellow Brick Road. What "[n]ew synthetic drug is turning Londoners into violent maniacs"? Dr. Jekyll's Hyde serum, of course.

Litbait has been good for The Wild Detectives. The bookstore has "seen a 14,000% boost in site traffic ... and 150% more post engagement on Facebook" since launching the classic-books-as-clickbait campaign, according to CNN.

Even putting its clever litbait aside, The Wild Detectives might be the coolest bookstore I've ever seen. The three-year-old Dallas institution uses the city's literary community to curate its book collection, stays open until midnight — MIDNIGHT! — and serves food and beverages of all stripes to hungry readers. They'll even give you a drink on the house if you order a book from them. Pretty snazzy, right?

The Wild Detectives' latest social media campaign is Reading Quirks, a webcomic published on Medium and Instagram. Send them your stories, and you might wind up featured in a cute 4-panel like the one above.