Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Promoting a book

Book publishers have been slow to come to internet. From the beginning of their activities the question was always should the book publisher do something with the books in terms of producing electronic books and distribute them through internet, should the book publisher sell the printed books through internet or should the book publisher do something about the promotion digitally.

In 1997 a second wave of electronic books came about after the first wave of Sony e-Books had miserably failed in the USA and Europe. The second wave was better as the production and distribution were better organised. But the reading device still was tiring to the eyes, a handicap now solved by the iLiad and Readius. The third wave can start, as soon as the book publishing and consumer electronics worlds have found a major promoter.

The sale of printed books through internet has been a strong item from the beginning of internet. Amazon moved in with success; spread over Europe. National and regional distributors tried to find a spot in the sun. And I must say that I have bought more books online in the last ten years than I did by going to a book shop. (I love book shops. They are like cheese: they have holes and they have cheese. You accidentally hit on a book, but more often you do not find the books and have to order a book. I recently was in a large book shop, where they could find the position of the book and the number of copies on the computer like in a library).

Digital promotion was the most natural extension book publishers could think off. And this is usually done half-heartedly. In the best case they put up their catalogue on internet with a photograph of the cover, a small description and sometimes the table of content. Nothing really seductive.

But last week The Dutch book publisher Querido, a publishing house of Dutch literature, went a step further. One of their successful Dutch language authors is A.F. Th. Van der Heijden. A.F. Th. For short. For his new novel Het schervengericht, the book publishers started an experiment with online advertising. The site is like a book with a cover. Between the cover the visitor can get an impression of the tone and the atmosphere of the novel.

The site got immediately compliments. In the interactive marketing blog Marketingsfacts blogger Carl Mangold say: Well done. With a movie trailer half of the plot will be given away, but this microsite makes one eager to know. Another blogger on the same blog recognises the atmosphere of PC games from the ninenties: Critical Path en Spycraft. All together this experiment with online advertising has made a deep impression. Of course it only is a real success when the number of sold book has reached a record.

It is not the first time that Querido has been experimenting with internet. Perhaps I should say that it was an author of Querido experimenting with online promotion in May last year. For the promotion of his Dutch language book Wembley, Richard Osinga had invited a number of bloggers to publish a part of his book on their blog. The fragment on one blog linked to another fragment on another blog. In less than 24 hours there were already 23 bloggers participating. In the end he had fragments on more than 87 blogs.

Blog Posting Number: 678

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