Thursday, September 17, 2009

Making Books The Drug of Choice

Joanne Rendell with the Huffington Post has an idea I like. She proposes that the publishing industry follow the lead of the drug industry if it wants to be successful. To quote her: “Publishing industry, listen up, it's time to sell reading."

Indeed.
Instead of putting all their rapidly declining marketing dollars behind single authors and their new releases (think of those rather dull ads on the subway or in magazines which feature an author's grinning face, a book cover, and a few generic "thumbs up" quotes), why don't publishing companies run campaigns which would make reading itself a desirable lifestyle choice? Why not help craft a new, exciting, and sexy "reading" identity for people to aspire to?
She admits doing this probably goes contrary to the established practices of the publishing world and confesses she’s not a marketing person. But she does have some ideas:
New spaces need to emerge where people will meet and discuss books and, importantly, be seen and respected for discussing books. TV and movies need to show sexy readers, much like they showed sexy smokers back in the day. Celebrities need to be caught reading books -- or Kindles -- on the beaches of the Caribbean. Book groups should not be left to form themselves; they need to be propagated and supported by the book industry. Expert voices should be everywhere, in newspapers and on Oprah, talking about the intellectual, personal, health, and even sexual benefits of reading!
Celebrities reading? Sexual benefits of books? Movies with characters reading and they’re not nerds? How radical.

I like it.
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29 comments:

  1. I think the publishing industry should listen to Joanne! She's come up with an excellent idea.

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  2. I've actually seen a lot of pictures of celebrities reading. But it is true that there aren't any non-nerds in movies that I can think of. And sexual benefits? Hmmm....unless you are reading Anne Rice's "Beauty" series!

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  3. I keep hearing a song in my head. I think it's by Justen Timberlake (did I spell his name right?): Bringing Sexy Back. Don't know if that's the title of the song, but it's the words that are repeating in my head. That's what's called for here - bringing book reading back to being sexy.

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  4. Getting more readers would be awesome! Maybe the industry will listen up.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  5. I really love this idea. Give Joanne Rendell a medal!
    ~jon

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  6. I think it's a novel idea - no pun intended! A rising tide will lift all ships.
    My husband claims that if you want to know the latest, successful trend, look to the porn industry! They are always there first. No, we absolutely don't support it - but it's an interesting point of study.

    L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”
    www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com

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  7. Promoting book reading as a cool activity, a "drug of choice," is a brilliant idea.

    Why have the publishers' marketing people not come up with it? I hope they pick up the idea and run with it.

    We tell parents that reading to their children is a must for healthy brain development and to encourage kids to read themselves when they've learned to read.

    Maybe the marketing people can do a cross advertising campaign with the health food folks: Good food for your body / good food for your mind.

    Excercise your body, relax with a book--that sort of thing.

    Okay, I could go on, but I wouldn't get paid for it!

    Miss Footloose
    www.lifeintheexpatlane.blogspot.com
    Tales of the Globetrotting Life

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  8. I agree! Are you reading this, Publishing Industry?

    Now about those sexual benefits...you mean something along the lines of bookgasms? :)

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  9. There's a huge senior market out there and reading has been proven to help prevent Alheimer's Disease as well as other forms of dementia. Joanne's idea is a very good one.

    Jean
    http://advicefromeditors.blogspot.com/

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  10. She's an absolutely brilliant marketing genius.
    Karen

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  11. Count me in! I'd love to star in one of those sexy movies, shown reading my own books!! Or yours!!

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  12. I love this approach. It's obvious publishers need to widen their market, after all, and this might just to the trick.

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  13. Y'all are coming up with some great ideas. I like it!

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  14. Well, using sex appeal to sell books isn't a bad idea... until you get to children's books, that is!

    But marketing reading as "cool" and "popular" is definitely a good idea.

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  15. I'm on board with any idea that gets people thinking 'reading is cool'. The world-wide phenomenon of kids reading the newest Harry Potter was a wonderful thing to witness. Let's get the big celebrities to start saying what they're reading. Couldn't hurt - and might be a lot more interesting than who just broke up with who!

    Elspeth

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  16. great post and I love th ebits form the original article. Our libraries BookDoctor is pushing the idea of reading being sexy too.

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  17. Instead of the judges of American Idol showing a Coke can to the audience (positioned so the audience can see the word Coke), maybe thy can be reading the latest best sellers, conveniently displaying the dust covers for the viewing audience t clearly see.

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  18. The Garner Public Library publishes a reading list of Who Reads What--the books celebrities read. It's sponsored by Thomson-Gale Publishers. You can see the list here: http://www.gpl.lib.me.us/wrw.htm.

    The last update was in 2007, but maybe they can be encouraged to update it. Those of us with blogs and websites can promote it

    Helen Hunt, for example, liked Cormac McCarthy's THE CROSSING.

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  19. I like the idea of libraries getting involved. Not sure about the AI judges. They'd probably get a ghost writer to pen a book, put their name on it, and prop it up. On the other hand, it'd look like they were literate.

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  20. Very provocative, Helen...I like it!

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  21. That's really rather neat. Sets me dreaming about TV series with characters who read... life imitates art... endless possibilities.

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  22. Maybe they need to have one or two of the Big Brother contestants read.

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  23. I hope someone in media/advertising is reading your post, Helen!

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  24. Love the idea, Helen.
    Maybe we can start by posting Reading is Sexy badges on our profiles?

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  25. Like the idea, Rayna. Never made a badge, but I bet it could be done. We could be trendsetters.

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  26. Sexing up reading- I am all for it.

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  27. Have you seen the new Sony e-reader ads? They include Amy Sedaris and Justin Timberlake extolling the virtues of reading—albeit reading ebook on Sony's new reader. Seems like a step in the right direction!

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  28. I know I learned most about sex from reading. I think this just may be a turning point!

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