Advanced Search

About Us

C-SPAN's Booknotes:
Television's Longest-Running Book Program

Former President George H.W. Bush
Interview in 1998

For sixteen years, from 1989 to 2004, Booknotes was C-SPAN's signature author-interview program. Focusing exclusively on contemporary nonfiction books, the Booknotes series created an unparalleled television forum for writers of history, biography, politics, and public affairs.

Booknotes format was simple: One author, one book, one hour. For a full hour every Sunday night, fifty-two weeks a year, nonfiction writers were asked to discuss their most recent work. Beyond the book's subject matter, authors were also queried about their research, their writing process, and their own lives and influences. The result is a valuable video resource for authors, researchers, students, readers and educators.

David McCullough
Interview in 1992

Booknotes had another editorial guideline: authors could only appear on the program once in their careers. As a result, the Booknotes archive is a collection of 800 first-person interviews with some of the best known non-fiction writers of the late 20th century. In addition, contemporary political leaders are seen and heard in their own words, as they discuss their autobiographies and memoirs.

Michelle Malkin
Interview in 2002

The host of the series from its inception was C-SPAN founder and CEO Brian Lamb. Mr. Lamb's studio was intentionally spare -- black curtained and furnished simply -- as were his questions. The editorial goal was to keep the focus on the author.

Over its many years, Booknotes became an important stop on most non-fiction writers' tours. These series interviews were collected in four best-selling books, published first by Times Books and later by PublicAffairs. In USA Today, the late Pulitzer Prize winning author David Halberstam called the series, "wonderful," adding that it "connects serious writers in a highly-civilized way to serious readers out there."

Former President Clinton
Interview in 1996

Booknotes established C-SPAN as a haven for readers and writers of nonfiction books and led to the 1999 creation of BookTV, which every weekend provides 48 hours of coverage of non-fiction book and author events on C-SPAN2. For a current schedule of Book TV, visit

Connie Bruck
Interview in 2003

The C-SPAN Networks were created by America's cable television companies in 1979. Now in over 100 million TV households, C-SPAN was created by America's cable companies in 1979 as a public service and programs three public affairs television networks in both SD and HD; C-SPAN Radio, heard in Washington DC and nationwide via XM Satellite Radio; and a video-rich website which hosts the C-SPAN Video Library. Visit

The Last Booknotes
The guest for the final Booknotes program was author Mark Edmundson, discussing his book "Why Read?" The interview was recorded on October 27, 2004. On that day a behind the scenes C-SPAN camera documented the process of creating a Booknotes program, and questioned the host about his interview techniques. This 40 minute documentary is a exclusive.

Sundays at Eight
American Character
American's Finest Authors
American History
Life Stories
Sundays At Eight Books