Founded in late 2006 by Chris Anderson, Kevin Smokler, and Adam Goldstein, BookTour.com has the potential to be a great resource for authors and audiences alike. I say potential because the site is still in the beta stage and has a few bugs to be worked out like the search engine, which needs to be refined so that it pulls up more relevant results. (Example: Search for the book "White Heat," and the book "What to Eat" is at the top of the search listings.)
Despite some minor technical difficulties, the concept of the site is a good one. It is a free service that brings together authors and audiences. Authors or their publicists can use this service to promote upcoming author events. I didn't try adding any of our author events to BookTour yet, but the site claims that it is "wicked easy." Anyone can submit events without having to register on the site as a publicist or author. I like the idea of open access for all users, but I can also see problems with this. The site has to assume that its users (who range from people in the publishing industry to general book fans) are providing reliable information, which might not always be the case.
In addition, through this website book clubs, bookstores, and individuals can invite an author to speak in their area. This is an attractive service because it cuts out the legwork involved in tracking down the correct contact person to set up an author event. As BookTour's tagline says, the site easily facilitates on online gathering place "where authors and audiences meet."
Read more reviews on BookTour's blog.