Hardcovers or Billboards?

Another idea for publishers to cut costs and try something different comes from Paul Spinrad

My friend Andy’s literature blog recently pointed to this essay by Pat Holt, about how book publishers lose tons of money printing hardcover books. Publishers see them as expensive promotional copies that they need to print in order to get the reviews and interviews that sell profitable softcovers later.

Here’s something less expensive that I think could replace hardcovers. Each publishing house puts a video billboard in a protected, shared area of Times Square or similar that’s dedicated to showing the authors/books currently being promoted. I know outdoor advertising in NYC is expensive, but one sign has got to be cheaper than thousands of hardcovers plus distribution. If the signs are properly imbued with significance, which the industry could easily do, they would accomplish everything that a hardcover run does.

The book industry would tell book reviewers, talent coordinators, etc. that the signs are the new hardcover. In other words, this is the pool of people we’re putting out there to make the rounds in the media, and other people will be covering them and people will be thinking about them at the same time that you are. Meanwhile, aspiring authors should want to see themselves up on one of those signs. They should be framed with appropriate gravitas indicators (marble, columns) and designed by famous artists.

Image Source: fazen


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