Oakland will be getting a little taste of sweet, sweet HarperCollins marketing nectar (an allegedly “$250,000″ promotional budget for a single title) in the form of, you guessed it, a record store selling jazz vinyl at affordable prices right inside the already existing indie bookstore DIESEL. Obvious, really.
What may be less obvious is why.
The answer is that there’s some nobody author on their roster named “Michael Chabon” with a new novel coming out this fall about a record store. The record store is fictional, but for a week in September, it will come to life as what marketing freaks gushingly call a “pop-up shop,” specializing in records and branding opportunities right in the middle of an already established indie bookstore. All the signage in the store will be changed, and “bags, buttons, and stamps for book purchases made during the week” will also be provided, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Some grumblers (probably the same gold-hoarding conspiracy theorists who take their headphones out during Spotify commercials) might call this a gimmick, but I call it fun. Some other fun marketing initiatives from the world of books include:
It Chooses You // Miranda July // A resale store in a gallery space
To promote her book It Chooses You, Miranda July set up shop in a NYC gallery to sell all sorts of strange, little trinkets and found objects, complete with book-branded packaging.
Martian Summer // Andrew Kessler // A “monobookist” bookstore
Author Andrew Kessler rented out an entire bookstore to sell only one thing: his book. Less an exercise in hubris than a pricey statement about the necessity of physical retail space for books.
Great ideas all, but at Soho we’ve cracked the piggy banks and pooled our money (It’s millions. Deal with it HarperCollins.) to execute a few of our own Big Idea marketing campaigns. Not to ruin the surprise, but here are a few:
1) Cara Black will attempt to jump four, full-size Parisian RER trains on Aimee Leduc’s pink scooter while Jim Benn and the surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd perform the US national anthem. One night only. Reno, NV. Admission for one adult: $140; the memories: priceless.
2) Scale models of a Belfast alley at night will be built inside a select group of independent bookstores around the country. Stuart Neville will make frequent, unannounced appearances at each location to mock customers’ purchases and throw bricks.
3) Fuminori Nakamura will visit the home of every customer who buys a paperback copy of The Thief. Instead of a traditional reading, he will stare silently at his readers for hours, pausing only occasionally to drink lemonade from a man’s hat and weep. Some readers will receive a phone call from Nakamura rather than a face-to-face visit, but be assured, the call is coming from inside the house.
Anything else you’d like to see? MONEY IS NO OBJECT.