Brand building through storytelling

Hey, readers! Buy a book now! Publishers and writers need you!

Have you heard about the big New York publisher that put a freeze on acquiring books? No, this isn’t the latest joke from the sultans of satire at The Onion. It really happened this week at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, publisher of Philip Roth(until he left, apparently in protest). Meanwhile staff at other houses are losing their jobs in droves and the chairman of Barnes & Noble is wringing his hands: “Never in all my years as a bookseller have I seen a retail climate as bad as the one we are in.”

The New York Times can give you the grisly details on publishing’s “Black Wednesday.” But I figure you’re looking for hope—and the chance to give hard luck the finger. For that, look no further than, the smart and scrappy new voice of the fiscally battered but emotionally unbowed. “Let’s all go out and buy a book,” says the Whiner. “With all the industries that are in trouble right now, how much do you care about what’s happening to publishers? When’s the last time you bought a book…?”

Shameless personal aside: as an author, I always cringe when some well-intentioned person says, “I can’t wait to read your book! I’m on the waiting list at the library.” Even worse: “I just loved your book! I’m lending it to my mom, my sisters and all my girlfriends.” I guess I’m supposed to be flattered. But honestly, if my book was that good, couldn’t you have bought even one copy as a gift?

Okay, enough about me. This is also about the next Philip Roth (who, for all I know, could be you). Christmas is coming. A paperback book costs less than a beer-and-pizza blowout and delivers rewards that last a lot longer. Tonight I intend to start rereading my favourite book of the year, Then We Came to the End, a first novel by Joshua Ferris (it’s actually came out last year; I waited for the paperback). It’s so original and tender and right for these times that I wouldn’t dream of lending it to anyone. But I promise to tell you all about it in plenty time for Christmas.


Posted by Rona

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