If The Mountain Won’t Come To The Publishers, The Publishers Must Come To The Mountain

March 24th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Though we’ve lost all track of time and space, we vaguely recall pointing out an interesting survey of United Kingdom reader, or rather, not-so-much readers, oh round about last week or so. Reasons for not devouring the printed word ranged from price, ease of acquisition, and not finding something that spoke to them. Michael Cader got his hands on the full report, and after highlighting some of our favorite items (“Some books are much thicker than others, yet cost the same. It makes you wonder why.”), offers constructive thoughts on rectifying the situation. Probably he has the same level in faith that we do for actual change, but what the heck.

For example,

We believe authors are the main attraction, but we rarely communicate anything “real” about the author. Many jackets even lazily repeat the same one or two lines on the jacket and inside the book. Some publishers will still tell you more about the way the book was typeset than about who the author is and why they wrote this book. [Yeah, ’cause the history of the font is sooo important. Booksquare.]

Couldn’t authors themselves harness their talents to tell readers more about who they are and why the wrote this particular work in a way that might resonate with readers? Couldn’t authors describe in brief to readers their other books, and which one(s) they might like to read next? And couldn’t authors write briefly about books by other people they admire or would recommend?

We know there are some who dislike the concept of “branding”, and, frankly, anything we do to cows should be considered carefully when applied to humans. However, that should not stop publishers from get creative with publicity. Author blogs are good. They should be used more often and more effectively. People see through marketing-speak like it’s glass.

How about author/publisher websites that are actually useful? How about making it easy to buy the book via the author/publisher website? Oh horrors, darn, our bad, we forgot — that would either break the separation of book publisher and bookseller or require a bit of playing favorites. It’s always irritating when convenience runs into a practical wall.

Okay, how about spreading more marketing dollars across the board? Maybe do some multi-author things. How about more regional promotions rather than book tours? How about helpful lists at the back of books — if you like this, you’ll love….

It’s not that non-readers don’t want to read, necessarily, it’s just that there are a lot of books out there (except, as noted previously, in the places the non-readers frequently shop) and readers get burned, probably worse that movie-goers. We’re sure there are other brilliant ideas, but we want to share the brilliance.

File Under: Publishers and Editors