If you’re a reader than you will know what I mean when I say, reading is now an activity with accessories, ambiance, and an entire market all on its own. It is cool to read my friends, it is one of the many trending activities, up there I would say with yoga, brewing your own beer, and blogging!
I never thought I would ever be able to say that my beloved hobby would be something trendy, considering my 13 year old self would often hide a novel behind her class text books and face the horror of being called four eyes, time and time again. Yet recently event wearing large glasses is one of the biggest fashion statements that everyone is just dying to try out.
Readers are seen as these affluent, or cool geeky (sometimes sexy) beings, and companies and publishers, are starting to figure this out.
Take Chapters/Indigo for example, they don’t just sell books anymore, hence the name switch to Indigo, they in fact sell you a whole lifestyle to go with your love of reading. There are cute mugs with THE BEST quotes, quotes intended to make book lovers and aspiring writers swoon, (“life is great for cups of coffee, wonderful stories, and beautiful adventures,” “Be Bold. Or Italic. Never Regular.)” Not to mention they are made to hold giant cups of tea; the perfect companion to a book if there ever was one. Then there are the soy based candles, so you feel good about lighting them and breathing in their fumes, because let’s face it, we are all hoping that the soy is more natural than every other scented candle out there (cough, cough).
Book retailers have also become remarkably savvy at marketing books by season, particularly in terms of accessories. Sure you can have tea and burn some candles in the summer, but things like accented throws, pillows and “reading socks,” are a sure sign that Fall has arrived and reading is going to be even more fun with just these few items. I’ll admit it I have almost all of these items, just recently using the reading socks to enjoy a cozy Sunday morning read.
How is this marketing helping Publishers?
Books, real printed ones, are the ones being marketed in many of these advertising campaigns. And publishers are very aware that this change can help them succeed with readers and customer loyalty.
So while book retailers have found ways to stay afloat by selling more than just books, publishers have been trying to gather customers and enhance their brands in newfound ways as well. Every publisher in Canada now has a very active social media account, one of my favourites is Penguin Random House, their Instagram is a must see and House of Anansi is also worth checking out. From contests, to bibliophilic memes, or just beautifully staged photos shoots of their latest launches, these pages are perfect for fans of reading.
Publishers are even considering taking out the middle man and becoming book retailers all on their own. A recent blog post published by BookNet Canada, revealed that many publishers have already been doing this for awhile, and Penguin Random House and House of Anansi are two Canadian publishers who are looking to join the trend. And why not? They already have begun to market their publishing houses as a brand all on its own and quite successfully. Where once brand loyalty for readers was put squarely on the shoulders of the author, now, publishers are becoming recognizable in their own right and readers are taking notice.
Harper Collins Canada has a two social pages that are key to drawing readers into their brand, The Savvy Reader and the 50 book pledge. Personally I love the 50 book pledge, I don’t think I’ve ever yet made it to 50 by December 31, but I definitely always aim to. It’s such a great way of connecting with other readers, but also to have this tracking interface that makes you feel like an accomplished reader. The bookshelves are such a great touch and make this tracking social page, a much nicer choice compared to Good Reads. Harper Collins undoubtedly hopes that this encourages you to buy more books! And at the very least that works for me.
I can’t speak for everyone but I think it is safe to say that readers want to prove how much they’ve read, and this site in particular is an ingenious way for publishers to obtain more traffic, increase book sales and keep on fighting the good fight. That is to keep our feet warm and our minds enriched with great literature.
Adding on to our book culture theme, next up, discussions about Book Awards and Book Street Festivals!
If you’ve recently been to Word on the Street or are currently heading to IFOA, mention it in the comments below, I’d love to hear about your experiences and any great finds!