Sunday, April 11, 2010

Judge a book by its cover

If you do not like this book, return it and you shall get your money back. That’s the promise publisher Hachette India is making with their latest release, Delhi Durbar, a political thriller by Kishan Partap Singh. While there is no information on just how many people returned the book, the ploy is a first for publishing in India.

If the reader will not come to the book stores or portals, then let us go in search of them, seems to be the credo. Penguin India’s Spring Fever, a nine-day open air festival of books, was held in Delhi’s India Habitat Centre. “The idea was to reach out to the potential customer, which we did with the participatory nature of the event, especially the evening sessions where writers read and discussed with audiences,” says Hemali Sodhi, vice-president, marketing and corporate communications, Penguin India.

A brave new word
Think new books just half a decade ago, and the traditional promotion was a book launch, very occasionally extended to a book tour for authors deemed big enough to warrant it. “A book launch is a waste of money,” confided a disgruntled prominent publisher footing the bill for such an event at a luxury hotel. Out-of-the-box promotion meant a seminar, and innovative meant quiz. Even when Advaita Kala’s bestselling Being Single was released in 2007, it was more word of mouth promotion, points out the author. Book promotions definitely did not mean food festivals, fancy merchandise, cross promotions, tent cards, viral marketing, excursions to… dare one mention it… tier-II towns such as Chandigarh, Jaipur or even Raipur. Add vampire parties and yes, return gifts, and it begins to resemble an after party in a fashion week. In high season now, read most of the year, especially in the new capital for publishing in India, Delhi, there’s hardly an evening without a book launch, and on occasion, even big ticket ones by rival publishers have overlapped.

Full report here Financial Express

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