Weblinks, April 8th

Clever book marketing based on a brilliant idea.

Just yesterday (or this morning), I received a comment by somebody who added some thoughts on viral marketing by pitching his own book including a lot of links in his comment. I let that comment through, because it sounded interesting. The other day however, not long ago, I received an email by somebody pitching his book to me, including some videos I ended up never watching. Boring pitches for books…

But now I found a really cool idea of someone who thought of a very unusual way to sell his book. Here is the English translation of something I found on this German site (and couldn’t yet find in English anywhere – let me know if you do):

Because his debut novel wouldn’t sell and the publishers were reluctant to invest any money in advertising, author WS Maugham decided to take matters in to his on hands. He published classifieds in a few daily newspapers in London with the following copy: „Young millionaire, lover of sports, cultivated, with good taste of music and a patient and empathetic character wishes to marry any young and beautiful girl that resembles the heroine of W.S. Maughams new novel.

Six days later the complete print run of the first edition of the novel was sold out.
Fantastic idea! Good buzzmarketing, and this was in the 1800’s!

Music Genius Prince and his newspapers CD giveaway coup

Here is a good summary of the latest coup of Prince, the artist formerly known as a symbol. He just released his new album by attaching it to a newspaper in the UK. Meaning: everyone who bought the paper, also bought the CD. That should instantly catapult him into the top 10 charts. He did so before, by giving CDs to everyone who visited his concerts.

The music industry, of course doesn’t like this. But hey – do we like what the music industry does? Charging us for the inefficient logistics of carrying heavy plastic disks to a store near us, when all we want is to download a song via iTunes right in front of us?

The future of Magazines

PSFK writes about the future of magazines, mainly about 4 points that I agree with:

1. Not many people seem interested in reading long-form journalism (The New Yorker, NYT Magazine, etc) in front of their screens.

2. Magazines are easily portable for a plane ride, or the commute home. Also, they can be a good weekend digest of the week’s events when you are away from the computer/PDA. Though digital books and interfaces for the consumption of media are emerging, none seem poised to make a significant impact.

3. The medium allows for deeper analysis and context of daily news.

4. The sensory experience that print affords — the feel of different paper stocks, glossy photos, beautiful layout, design — simply cannot be replicated digitally.

The real value of newspapers

Over at Dave Weinbergers blog is a short excerpt from a Q&A at an Edelman/PR Week Summit.

It’s about the way the WSJ sees their own new role in he whole news biz:

Gordon Crovitz, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, described how the Journal had rethought its role as a newspaper. Rather than trying to present the first view of news, the Journal assumes its readers got the news the day before on line. Instead, 80% of the articles aim at helping readers understand the news they already have.

I agree, I think the future of printed media is in the detailed, well researched and very long analysis or report of things. At least until someone develops a screen that is as comfortable for reading long texts as if they’re printed on paper.

Dave replied, that he can get a lot of expert background information on the web, through emailing lists, etc. on the things he needs.:

I can get more focused analysis on the Web. E.g., the mailing lists I’m on about Internet regulation issues gives me far more coverage and analysis than any newspaper devotes to the topic, and the mailing lists include people with great expertise; newspapers can’t compete with that.

I think we’re mixing two different objectives here. The stuff Dave reads through his lists are probably not the things newspapers want to get into in the first place.

There is a scale of depth of information. Online will be best to cover the fast, but rather shallow bits of news, newspapers/magazines will cover more detailed background information (aimed at the interested amateur), and mailing lists, forums and (printed) literature will be perfect for expert knowledge.