Looking At Spinebreakers

October 15th, 2007 · 1 Comment
by Kassia Krozser

Last week, I mentioned the new Spinebreakers website from Penguin UK. I noted that it was pretty much everything I wanted a publishing website to be. Or, if you’d prefer, it’s a publishing website that targets readers. The delightful message is less “buy buy buy” (or “sell sell sell”) than it is “stay stay stay”.

With eyecatching colors and a mix of social networking features — video, audio, polling, discussion, and lots and lots of words to read — the site tells its target audience to stick around, read, and chat. Not necessarily in that order.

Interestingly, the Penguin name is the least prominent aspect of the home page. You have to scroll way down the page to catch that aspect. Of course, that means you have to scroll past a whole bunch of older looking authors as well, plus a mix of pop artists to balance things out. While I like the idea of treating authors like rock stars, the seriousness of their photos seems to detract from hipness of the site.

Or maybe it’s just the bald dudes.

In fact, this may be the most difficult aspect for the site going forward, balancing the age differential between the audience and the content creators. Purists will sputter about the grand and noble art of writing and that it’s certainly not about how the author looks, but that’s a bit like trying to have it both ways. You cannot complain that kids today don’t read, try to market books to them, and then give them something that says “this is not for you.”

If I watch Mad Men long enough, I will find just right marketing maxim to make that message appropriately pithy.

Take a look at the site — Spinebreakers.co.uk — and see how well Penguin has done in erasing the multiple personality disorder that plagues most publishing sites. Oh, and have some fun. That’s what it’s there for.

File Under: Publishers and Editors

1 response so far ↓

  • booklover // Oct 15, 2007 at 3:49 pm


    As one whose head had long outgrown his hair, I think anything that celebrates the “look” is a good thing. Now if only there was a site that celebrated both bald and fat authors, I’d find a home!