08 October 2005

on book marketing.

Miz R and i were discussing the fundamental flaws in book marketing the other day, and some doubts about its proficiency came up, nothing really new, but still worthy of mention, i think.

so most of the time book sales start with book launches. people read in public and those that watch them, one would assume anyhow, get stoked enough that they want to buy the book so they can go home and...read it in private. ha. the covetted result is the opposite of the event itself.

i mean, let's face it, us bookish sorts are not naturally attuned to sitting in large crowds while fostering our fetishes for literary consumption. that's the deal with books. reading is a solitary activity, always has been, rarely won't be.

so it seems so contradictory, putting a bunch of literary enthusiasts in a room, enthusiasts for solitude and quiet introverted pursuits, and hoping to be able to excite them with public displays of book, get them all riled up and assuming they can enjoy the same sensations from having words spoonfed to them from a stage that they gain from a cup of tea and a book in a comfy chair late at night.

R and I agreed that the actual saving grace of books was/is as intelligent friends in times of lonliness, from childhood onwards. to this day i see solitary figures sitting in public reading and frequently envy them, since i Know they are in perfect company, an accomplishment that sometimes i cannot boast.

it seems to me that books should be marketed as such: "Books: Clear and Lucid Company! Stable Things that stay put for when you want to spend time with them! Fantastic Inventions To Make You Feel Less Lonely!"

of course the fundamental problem with this tactic is that to do this we would have to start by acknowledging lonliness as a human and pervasive trait. It is a rare soul that admits to being lonely; those who do are very frequently stigmatized as obviously not worthy of company, for if they were they wouldn't be lonely, would they?
the difficulty we humans have with admitting such things, would make the buying of properly marketed books a shameful activity.

marketing books as what they really are would make them as shameful or clandestine a purchase as other strange and perverse marginalia* we seem so determined to keep fetishized and exclusive to classes of "certain sorts of people".

no wonder books are frequently considered unappealing or threatening by much of the general public; one cannot control anything that can be enjoyed by another person in solitude, and the thoughts/sensations/admissions it might excite.

not to mention the actions resulting from this. every revolution, even the small personal ones, has to start somewhere.

*subsequently edited due to an in-person lewd snicker from one of my readers about my previous comparison. which i feel proves my point quite adequately about peoples shameful derision of solitariness.
however, for (what i perceive to be) the common good, i would prefer that books never be thought about with lewd snickers.

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