Monday, November 7, 2011

Questions on Book Marketing Strategy

There's a library event coming up in a couple of weeks which I am very excited about! Christopher Paolini, author of The Inheritance trilogy, will be coming to talk and sign books! Very fun, yes? This particular library  continues to get some way awesome authors to visit. I'm loving it and in fact, it's almost hard to keep up! I hit a few and miss a few. This one is a no brainer though, and I'm going for sure!

So, most of the time when these authors come, we can bring in the books we already have and get them signed. Always, they will have a book seller of some sort on hand so you can easily buy books if you don't have them, or if you'd like to add to the stack you already have. I think nearly every time I use this service! I end up spending a lot of money at these "free" events!

This time, however, things are a little different. (My friend Jenny has already addressed this issue, so sorry if you've already heard her rant... but I wanted to weigh in too, so here goes mine!) This time, the library is making people aware (but I'm sure not everyone will get this message which means there's going to be a lot of really really bugged people that day) that you can only get this latest book signed if you buy it there. Now, of course, this isn't the first time I've heard of such a thing. Often, book stores will have signings and you'll need to buy the book from the store. Makes sense. But this is a library, so the library gains nothing from this.

It also makes sense if it's a launch party and the book is just being released that day. However, this event takes place nearly one month after the book's release date. So that is confusing to me.

It also might make sense if the library has some sort of agreement with the book store (Barnes and Noble in this case) so that the book store has motivation to come. But this is also weird to me because this book store has come to the library many many times and has never made stipulations before. So why now?

Which leaves the publisher. The library is saying that the publisher (Random House in this case) is the one making this rule. So my question is.... what does the publisher have to gain by making us all wait a month to buy the book? Don't they want poeple to buy the book the first week it's out? Isn't that first week really important number-wise and "best seller" status-wise? I thought someone told me this once upon a time, but I guess for some reason they'd rather we wait and buy it at the event a month later and not buy it that first week and help their numbers.

Unless of course the publisher has some sort of thing going with the book store, which I guess could be true. But someone needs to explain to me why a publisher would want people to buy the book from one certain place. Don't they want the book to be bought, no matter WHERE it's bought? Isn't the point to sell as many books as you can? Not as many books as you can from one store? I just don't get it.

Also, it makes me crazy because if we are excited to go see this author, which we are, that probably means we are big fans, which we are. And if we are big fans, that probably means we'd really like to read this book the second it comes out, which we do. And it's always cool when you meet an author to say, hey! Cool book! And to feel really smart and be able to say you have read it already.

But of course that won't happen if we have to wait to buy it there... so we'll just look like doofuses and won't be able to say, hey, cool book. Or maybe we could say, hey, I BET this is a cool book, if only I could have read it during this last month before coming to see you!

But I guess all this could be solved if we bought one copy now, to read. And one copy then, to get signed. Thereby, buying TWO copies of this $28.00 book. Because we can all spend that kind of money no problem, being book fanatics and all. Right? So maybe THAT'S what's behind this thing? The publisher wants us to buy two copies?

And if that's the case, it really makes me crazy.

So anyone out there have any better explanation for this? Publishers? Authors? Book stores? Libraries? Why would they do this? What would they gain? What if we all just refused to buy it there, and poor Christopher had no new books at all to sign? Wouldn't that be a bit embarrassing for all involved? And I wonder if he, as the author, has a say in all this? Because there's a certain other author that came awhile back (same publisher by the way, and same library, and probably same book store too) who I think would freak if this was going on at his signings.

Anyway, someone, please explain. Because I really really don't get it.

Meanwhile, I think I'll be buying the book ahead of time, and read it (hopefully) before the event and then take my older books to be signed, even though they are also saying he won't personalize them, because of course, he will only do that for the new one, the one we have to buy there.


  1. I've thought about all of these things too. I'm glad you put all these questions out there. I think a ton of people have no idea there's a rule about this and are going to be pissed when they find out that night. I just can't fathom why the publishers would do this. I for one, like you said, want to have actually read the book before the event. The whole thing ticks me off!

  2. I've also noticed our event with him down here is the same for personalizing his older books too - though they indicated he wouldn't even sign them if you didn't buy a new copy through them. I wonder if they'd at least let you pre-order through a B&N and then show the receipt so you didn't have to wait a month. That's what would annoy me the most about it!

  3. Yea, I was one of those folks who didn't pay attention to that. My students will be REALLY angry about it as well, since the ones I'm offering credit for going are huge fans and already have the book ordered. I wonder if I called the library and explained, if they would rethink??? Seems weird. I guess it must be an author request.

  4. I don't understand it either. It makes me think it's a stipulation from B&N, but maybe it is the publisher. Either way, it's just stupid. It makes me glad that I'm not going so I don't have to deal with this.

    I understand about only personalizing one. He's huge and there are going to be a ton of people. It reminds me of the Stephenie Meyer signings a few years ago. We could only have The Host personalized and I was completely fine with that, but they (the booksellers--Borders and TKE) didn't make us buy any of the books from them at the event. We just had to pre-order the books to get the tickets and that was only The Host. The Twilight Saga could already be pre-owned.


  5. This doesn't make sense to me, as the signing is being held in a library. I can understand an independent bookstore having this requirement, but a library? Maybe it's an author stipulation, as I don't think the publisher would care where you bought the book, so long as you bought it. This is sure to annoy fans....

  6. I can pretty much guarantee that this is something the library had zero control over. I'm not going to the event, since I haven't read the series. But, I can definitely get that it's frustrating, and it doesn't make much sense.

  7. Jenny.... so... did you get the book yet?

    Melissa... seriously? Oh boy. What if they say the same thing here? Argh!!

    Becky... let me know if you call them and what they say! I really really hope it's not an author thing. Really.

    Jenni.... Grrr is right. Oh, well. I'm sure we'll all survive.

    Alexia... like I said, I really hope it's not the author. Why would he care WHERE the book is sold? Nothing really makes sense.

    Emily: Yes, I know the library is probably a bit bugged by this whole thing too. I wish they could have a little more control. OH, well.



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