Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Is it Vanity Jackets at 40% Off

Some say that the jacket often sells the book and makes the difference and then it is often said that you should never judge a book by its cover…So it was interesting to receive an email alerting me to the latest promotional idea for books – designing your own jacket.

Today, Cornerstone Publishing, part of The Random House Group, is promoting Douglas Coupland ‘s Generation A and giving his followers the opportunity to create their own personalised edition of his latest title. They first buy the special signed hardback edition, then log onto Using a unique code from an enclosed flyer, they can ‘create their own book jacket by writing their own front and back cover text, choosing from over 30 different colours and by adding their own personal message.’

The unique jacket is printed and delivered to them, they wrap it around the book and hey presto, they have a unique jacket. They can also post their design to an online gallery and look at other buyer’s efforts. This must be either the smartest marketing idea or the dumbest. It certainly puts the vanity into fan publishing. Some may say it would be simpler to do it yourself but then you wouldn’t be able to share it with all the other sad people searching for their 15 minutes of fame.

The site already has a gallery of jackets but when all that changes is the colour and the words its hardly unique. You can also buy the book off the site – well you are directed to Amazon and find that the special edition with an RRP of £26 has been slashed to £15.60 which is £1.39 less that the hardback at full price which is also on sale at Amazon for £9.99. Why couldn’t Random sell it direct and at a premium? Why create a whole website and all the effort and then direct sales to Amazon for 40% off?

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