Got Book?

What took them so long? It’s sad that it took an economic crisis of historical proportions to make book publishers realize that they need to get serious about marketing the joy of reading and books. 

According to Publishers Weekly, Random House has spearheaded a holiday advertising campaign touting books as great gifts – and not necessarily marketing specific authors or titles. Let’s just hope that this effort isn’t half-hearted and forgotten in a few weeks.

The American Library Association has had it’s long-running Celebrity Read posters – using celebrities to tout the joys of reading. Also, the AAP has it’s similar Get Caught Reading campaign.

Why haven’t book publishers done more to brand the experience and pleasure of reading? There has been lots of handwringing and prognosticating about the shrinking attention span for books amidst the Web, video games, TV, movies, etc.. If book publishers want to defend, and hopefully expand, their piece of the media pie, then they have to be proactive about marketing the pleasure of reading.

The Random House Books=Gifts program is a web-based campaign of display ads featuring prominent authors touting the joys of reading and giving books as gifts. Initially, the campaign will feature Random House authors, but there are plans to expand beyond that.

Also, MJ Rose, novelist and expert book marketer, has started a new holiday campaign – featuring book jacket images and the message to buy books as gifts. If you’re a blogger, consider featuring an image from Rose’s campaign.

Again, though, publishers shouldn’t forget these efforts once the economy recovers.  And, to me the important thing here is that publishers should look beyond their obvious audience – existing book lovers. Digital advertising on book related sites is preaching to the choir.

If publishers want to expand their market, they need to think creatively, i.e. market fantasy-science fiction novels on video gaming sites, market street lit on music/rap blogs, etc.