Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Trans-actional Query

A Two-Parter:
1. Those of you urbanites (readers, writers, riders, writers who read, riders who read, etc) who travel by mass transit (subway, bus, light-rail, barrel-rolling-down-hill, etc):

A. Do you pay attention to the adverts that one sees in subways, on the sides of buses, etc. --1-800-LAWSUIT ("You, too, may want to sue the producers of VIOXX"), e.g.?
B. Have you ever seen BOOK ads in such places?
C. If yes, has an ad ever (even just once) caused you to say (to yourself), Oh, I didn't know that was out--that is, did it register in a favorable fashion?
D. Have you ever, even just once, bought a book because of such an ad?

2. Those of you publishers (editors, editorial assistants, marketeers, publicists, persons working in the mailroom, actual publishers, etc) who've ever been involved with a book that included mass trans adverts in its marketing bundle:

A. Have you ever had the experience of someone saying (aloud), Hey, I saw your book ad on the M1 bus uptown, on Madison? [That's just an example; answers need not be limited to viewings on Madison Avenue.]
B. Did you feel that the ads played a role in increasing the book's visibility?
C. Would you do it again? If so, what did you like about it? If not, why not?

As always, feel free to respond to me directly (via email: madmaxperkins@hotmail.com) and/or anonymously.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are book ads on the New York subway all the time. No, they have not once made me want to check out the book because they're always for blockbuster spy/romance/Da Vinci Code stuff that I have no interest in.

Amy said...

I agree with Anon - except to give a nod to the Poetry in Motion project on the subway. Once I actually wrote down the name of a poet from one of those - though didn't end up making the purchase later...

Anonymous said...

A. Yes, as a frequent subway captive, I'll read the ads, the graffiti, and the old man's Chinese newspaper upsidedown.

B. Yes, I've noticed ads for John Le Carre and John Grisham million-sellers

C. Yes, I'm reminded these people have umpteen books in print I haven't read. I wonder how many.

D. No, but the books advertised are all wrong for the subway. People buy blockbusters to read on airplanes. On subways people are reading used literature in paperback, new fiction in paperback, or comics. Subway ads could be effective if there was a little more effort put into marketing. If B&N picked a dozen titles a month for a "Subway Series," displayed somewhere between the front door and the checkout, maybe a 10% discount for Metrocard holders...reinforced by subway ads using all the books and underlining the riders' condition in transit... well then maybe you'd have something. Or I'll just be stuck reading that Hispanic AIDS awareness comic series in subways for all eternity.

Anonymous said...

1 yes
2 yes
3 yes, the Harvard University Press advertises on the subway in Boston/Cambridge.
4 no, I'm a poor college student. But maybe someday I'll scrape the dough together.

thecheezewiz said...

Once in a while (but not often enough), I see a book ad on the New York subway. Not once did one motivate me to buy a book.

The problem is, they're boring. The book cover, a "Wonderful!" quote from the New York Times that hardly tells us a word about the book, a short blurb that blends into every other blurb I ever saw by another author who's probably published by the same house, and maybe an author picture... Unless it's informing me about the next Myla Golberg or Marc Acito that's coming out (which, trust me, I'd already know about), the ads that are out there won't do a thing for me. Take a look at the other advertisements in public transportation. How many of those show just a yawn-inducing picture of the product on white background?

Publishers say they don't want to shell out much money on ads because ads don't usually increase sales. Yeah, THESE run-of-the-mill publishing ads sure as heck won't, but hey, it's no surprise to anyone here that publishers don't know how to advertise. And this isn't coming from some spiteful author; I'm actually in the industry.

Sad Saxe Commins said...

I remember years ago THE NAME OF THE ROSE was advertised in near-ubiquitous subway placards. But it was all downhill from there. And, in reading some of the other comments, I'm inclined to agree with them, particularly the idea for a B&N series. Or, how about reproducing an excerpt from the book for one of those end-panels on the subway (where the maps are found), a nice lengthy one that's not intended to be read from across the car but targeted at the person standing in front of it?

GGJ said...

Said it before, and I'll say it again: there are two publishing industries, literary and commercial (though there's obviously some overlap, as in graphic design and fine art--and the overlappers get the most press, despite being exceedingly rare).

From one: "Oh, I'd -never- buy a book from a crass advertisement, those merely serve slope-browed dross such as romance and spy novels and other forms of--I shudder--mass entertainment!" So the question is, Why would a publisher spend money advertising in a mass market a 'willow-switch' novel (wherein our hyperarticulate heroine tells in excruciating detail about the abuse she's survived--or not quite survived) which might appeal to 10,000 readers?

From the second: " ..." (Yes, this person does read entertaining novels for the sake of--yikes--entertainment, but she or he does not read industry blogs.)

You're asking in the wrong place, Max. Subway ads might work for commercial fiction, which many of your readers tend to disdain.

That said, I'd never buy a book from an ad. Nor from word of mouth. I grab a book due to the cover, and buy a book based on the first few pages. (Of course, the question remains: which covers do I see?)

Anonymous said...

1. A: Yes. can't help it, it's words.
B: Warner books advertises their thrillers and blockbusters.
C: Perhaps.. it's unclear.
D: Despite C, absolutely not. the ad has never made me want to buy a book.

Mary S. said...

I live in the Florida Keys. We don't have mass transit. Heck, we only have one main highway to get down the entire 120 mile chain of islands. If people figured out how to attach banner advertising to pelicans, I'd probably notice.

However, back when I lived in New Jersey, I occasionally saw books advertised on buses. Only ads that promoted/announced the new release of an author I already liked and read regularly made an impact.

Mac said...

A. Yep--I read every word I see, for the most part.
B. Yep, I've seen those ads
C. Nope
D. 'Fraid not. I just don't buy books that way. The place to catch me to get me to buy a book is in the actual store.

In fact, there was recently a Seattle-area tv ad for Patterson's new release--and I'm not rushing out to buy that one, either. If I happen to see a catchy display for it, the next time I'm in my favorite bookstore, I'll likely pick it up, though.

zornhau said...

Blindingly obvious: they should put the 1st couple of pages up in subway adverts. Having read them several times, you'd feel compelled to try the book - if it was any good.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes we get book ads next to the Tarrytown MTA station. I've never bought a book because of it, simply because the ones advertised weren't what I read. however, I think it's the perfect place to put them.... Have you ever rode the commuter trains in the evening? EVERYONE is reading.

An Editor said...

I’ve enjoyed your writing, and was intrigued to see your query about subway ads from yesterday, because I’ve often wondered about them myself. I’m an editor who often stared with envious eyes at the book ads I used to see on my train (always from A Competitive Publisher) and hunger for such ads for my own little books…but I never wanted to read any of the books they were advertising. That is, until I saw an ad for BRIMSTONE, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Of course, I can’t remember the compelling copy now, except that it involved a deal with the devil and the suggestion of spontaneous combustion. How could I resist? However, being in publishing, I was too cheap to shell out the money for the book, and instead called a friend at Said Competitive Publisher and begged a copy in exchange for the finest fiction I had to offer.
That’s the first and, to date, only time a transit ad has worked on me, and alas, I’ve never had the opportunity with one of my books for the shoe to be on the other foot.

Anonymous said...

I live in Montana, light years from urbia, but when I've been in NY, I've loved the Poetry in Motion placards on the buses and subways, and I'm sure I would notice and be intrigued by ads for books -- if they weren't for ubiquitous books but really introduced me to something new. Sticking to the mystery world I know best, if they were SJ Rozan, Laura Lippman, Steven Booth, Earl Emerson, Dana Stabenow -- not Dan Brown, James Patterson, or Sue Grafton. Not that I'm knocking the big names, just saying those ads wouldn't tell me as a reader anything new I wanted to know.

I think one of the missing pieces in discussing the role of ads is that while many people like to claim they aren't influenced by advertising ('I never buy a book based on an ad' -- or a postcard), what ads really do is get us familiar with the item being advertised. So maybe it isn't the subway placard or the postcard in the mail that triggered the purchase -- the wallet came out at the suggestion of a sibling or a bookstore clerk -- the author or cover or title were familiar *because* of the ad. Most of us don't buy a book the first time we hear of it, so ads are important in creating familiarity and name recognition.

Anonymous said...

I've bought books by both David Sedaris and Ann Brashares because I learned they were out thanks to telephone booth ads (In NYC). But they are not the kinds of authors who usually receive this treatment.

Arethusa said...

I've never bought a a novel because of an ad anywhere. I don't mind mainstream fare (I gobble J.D. Robb) but most of my book purchases are made because of recommendations or prominent placement in bookstores.

In Canada we have the equivalent to "Poetry in Motion" and that has worked on me (I've purchased one or two books).

Christopher Willard author of Garbage Head said...

Never, not once. Note even half a once. (although I did meet a girl on the subway once -- she was a little bit slutty and a little bit nutty.)

Anonymous said...

I'm in NYC. Do I see book ads in the subway? Yes. Do I buy books based on them? No.

Why not? Because the books advertised are the latest bestsellers which I have no interest in, and the ads exist to let the legions of faithful fans of that bestselling author know that a new one is out.

I read genre titles (SF, Fantasy, and Mystery), various non-fiction, and the occasional literary title, that that *never* gets subway ads.

It's the irony of publishing: the folks who could *use* the push -- new authors and mid-list titles -- are exactly the ones who don't get it.

Anonymous said...

News, Resources and Information on Vioxx and its Effectsvioxx side affect
vioxx side affect

Anonymous said...

Vioxx health - Merck Earns Fall After Vioxx Withdrawal NEW YORK (Reuters) -

Merck Earns Fall After Vioxx Withdrawal
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Merck & Co. MRK.N on Thursday said first-quarter profit fell 15 percent following the withdrawal of its arthritis drug Vioxx last year. Link to original article
lawsuit recall vioxx

kalisekj said...

Hi, I was searching blogs, and came onto yours fantastic blog.

I have a niche site. It pretty much covers how make money with niche marketing.

Keep it up. I'll check back later im sure.

Marketing man said...

You have a nice blog here! I will be sure to book mark you.
I have a internet marketing lead site. It pretty much covers internet marketing lead related stuff. Check it out if you get time :-)

St Louis Cardinals BUFF said...

Just was out looking for real estate and your blog came up.
I haven't found anything about real estate so I'll add my own link.
houses for sale by owner

Quit Smoking said...

I found you while surfing for interesting blogs. I like it, good content. I've left an invitation to you to visit me if you are into ebooks - Thanks, Neil

Livenwealthy said...

Just was out looking for real estate and your blog came up.
I haven't found anything about real estate so I'll add my own link.
buy a house in

Jack Naka said...

Your blog is excellent - keep it up! Don't miss visiting this site about fashion magazine. It pretty much covers fashion magazine related stuff.

Jason said...

Your blog is briliant! Keep it up. Here'e something for you if your looking for some free advertising:free web site advertising
Check it out for some great free web site advertising solutions.

bill naka said...

Keep it up. I enjoy your nice blog. check out my walden book site. It pretty much covers walden book related stuff.

Admin said...

Wow, what a great site. I will bookmark this site and return often. It's nice to see sites like this.

Please visit my website and let me know what you think. Secret Confession

sexy said...

情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,按摩棒,跳蛋,充氣娃娃,情境坊歡愉用品,情趣用品,情人節禮物,情惑用品性易購,A片,視訊聊天室,色情聊天室,聊天室

免費A片,AV女優,美女視訊,情色交友,免費AV,色情網站,辣妹視訊,美女交友,色情影片,成人影片,成人網站,A片,H漫,18成人,成人圖片,成人漫畫,情色網,日本A片,免費A片下載,性愛

A片,色情,成人,做愛,情色文學,A片下載,色情遊戲,色情影片,色情聊天室,情色電影,免費視訊,免費視訊聊天,免費視訊聊天室,一葉情貼圖片區,情色,情色視訊,免費成人影片,視訊交友,視訊聊天,視訊聊天室,言情小說,愛情小說,AIO,AV片,A漫,avdvd,聊天室,自拍,情色論壇,視訊美女,AV成人網,色情A片,SEX,成人論壇

情趣用品,A片,免費A片,AV女優,美女視訊,情色交友,色情網站,免費AV,辣妹視訊,美女交友,色情影片,成人網站,H漫,18成人,成人圖片,成人漫畫,成人影片,情色網


情趣用品,A片,免費A片,日本A片,A片下載,線上A片,成人電影,嘟嘟成人網,成人,成人貼圖,成人交友,成人圖片,18成人,成人小說,成人圖片區,微風成人區,成人文章,成人影城,情色,情色貼圖,色情聊天室,情色視訊,情色文學,色情小說,情色小說,臺灣情色網,色情,情色電影,色情遊戲,嘟嘟情人色網,麗的色遊戲,情色論壇,色情網站,一葉情貼圖片區,做愛,性愛,美女視訊,辣妹視訊,視訊聊天室,視訊交友網,免費視訊聊天,美女交友,做愛影片

av,情趣用品,a片,成人電影,微風成人,嘟嘟成人網,成人,成人貼圖,成人交友,成人圖片,18成人,成人小說,成人圖片區,成人文章,成人影城,愛情公寓,情色,情色貼圖,色情聊天室,情色視訊,情色文學,色情小說,情色小說,色情,寄情築園小遊戲,情色電影,aio,av女優,AV,免費A片,日本a片,美女視訊,辣妹視訊,聊天室,美女交友,成人光碟

情趣用品.A片,情色,情色貼圖,色情聊天室,情色視訊,情色文學,色情小說,情色小說,色情,寄情築園小遊戲,情色電影,色情遊戲,色情網站,聊天室,ut聊天室,豆豆聊天室,美女視訊,辣妹視訊,視訊聊天室,視訊交友網,免費視訊聊天,免費A片,日本a片,a片下載,線上a片,av女優,av,成人電影,成人,成人貼圖,成人交友,成人圖片,18成人,成人小說,成人圖片區,成人文章,成人影城,成人網站,自拍,尋夢園聊天室

A VOCATION OF UNHAPPINESS [Courtesy Georges Simenon (1903-1985)]

"Writing is considered a profession, and I don't think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don't think an artist can ever be happy."


PRACTICAL MARKETING [Courtesy Zornhau, 2005]

"They should put the 1st couple of pages up in subway adverts. Having read them several times, you'd feel compelled to try the book - if it was any good."


PLATE OF SHRIMP [Courtesy Alex Cox’s REPO MAN, circa 1984]

"A lot of people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidences and things. They don't realize that there's this like lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. I'll give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly somebody will say like "plate" or "shrimp" or "plate of shrimp" out of the blue, no explanation. No point in looking for one either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness."