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Book Merch, the Next Best Thing to Books

By Iqbal Hussain

Have you ever felt the anticipation of waiting for your favourite author's next up-and-coming release, and waiting to pick up the book on publication day during your lunch break?

The days of old-fashioned book launches, following COVID-19, and during a cost of living crisis, are typically reserved for the bigger books. To counter this, though, publishers are utilising multi-channel marketing; from online videos, interviews and the utilisation of merchandise. And, as readers, we want all the merch.

Can you see a world where you can enjoy your favourite new read and get your hands on some amazing book merch to be the envy of your peers?

This is extra incentive is becoming increasingly popular with book influencers on social media showing off their latest totes and custom bookmarks. We have entered a new world of merchandise competition to sway the readers to their next novel….including me. Authors and their marketing teams are frequently creating frenzies, and how do they do this you ask? Simply by creating the must-have PR boxes for influencers who can create the biggest impact with their following.

We are seeing boxes getting more and more elaborate as anticipation builds with the next book release. For example, for Emma Cline’s latest novel The Guest, Penguin Random House came up with an aptly themed pack for those lucky few who got advanced reader copies (ARCs). It included sunscreen, cookies, and sunglasses to match the summer island theme of the main plot.

The unboxing videos for this specific book helped boost the title's visibility in the target demographic, it also has led to more discussions in comments about the book creating a buzz that would have been less likely if the packs were not sent out.

Marketing agencies also have difficulty deciding which books to choose for merchandise and what the packages include. Small cost-effective gifts to a larger mass, or more custom bespoke items to a select few. I for one am excited to see what could be winging itself into my mailbox.




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