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Adventures in book marketing

Potatochipbag

While there are other industries with bigger margins and swankier swag, we do get a few book marketing materials at the office. This seems, at first, like a good idea: We get so many books that, more than once, stacked boxes of book packages have toppled over in the office, leaving a flood of manila envelopes blocking the hallway. Why wouldn't a publisher want to draw a little extra attention to its book?

But what's the best kind of book swag? Some of the marketing materials we've gotten:

  • The book tucked into the cellophane gift bag with soap, a back scratcher and a candy bar.
  • The book that came with a T-shirt.
  • The book packed in wooden box liked a smoked salmon.
  • The artificial flower with a memory card attached with a personalized video message. The book came in a separate package.
  • The book packed around the bottle of wine. It was too curved to read.
  • And also the book inside the (fake) potato chip bag filled with yellow packing Styrofoam "potato chips."

While I appreciate a free candy bar as much as the next book reviewer, I'm afraid that no amount of sugar can make a not-so-good book sweeter. Just as you can't judge a book by its cover, you can't judge a book by the swag that comes along with it. The fact is, some of these books are good, and some, well, not so good. Just like books that didn't come with any goodies at all.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo credit: Carolyn Kellogg

 
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