In which I get a little cranky and assert that not all marketing people are stupid.
I was surprised—shocked, even—to see not one single ereader company at Bouchercon, the largest gathering of crime fiction fans and authors in the world, particularly since according to the latest poll from Harris Interactive, 47% of ebook purchasers are mystery/thriller readers. Contrast that with the next largest group—science fiction—at only 25%, and even with Harris’ questionable methodology, it’s clear that this is a group about which companies like Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Amazon should care.
Of the big 3 ereaders, I’m rooting for Kobo for a number of reasons. But following their Big Announcement and missed email marketing opportunity this week, I’m not holding out a ton of hope for them.
First, the email. On Thursday, I received a marketing email from Kobo. I always open them even though I never click because I’m curious to see what their Top Picks Just for Me! are. Most of the time, they’re neither top nor for me, which just tells me they have folks writing marketing emails who don’t read the books they’re touting. Which is a damn shame.
This one was especially noteworthy because they’re suggesting the new book based on the TV show Castle. That’s fine of itself—I’ve heard these books are actually not horrible—but that they don’t make some kind of funny joke about the fact that on the show, the character Castle was signing the cover of “his” book rather than the title page is an opportunity missed. Guess they don’t watch the show either.
Later that same day, Kobo began touting that they would have Really Big News in conjunction with Facebook’s Really Big News. I can see it now: The intrepid PR team on the phone with The Kobo Client saying, “And we’ll drive excitement around the announcement by previewing it through social media!” Perhaps someone even squeeed.
And what was the news? That Kobo is making it “easier” to share what you’re reading on, you guessed it, Facebook. Hate to break it to you, gang, but that’s not news. You might well have news, but when you hide it behind:
Kobo will soon launch a revolutionary advancement in social eReading, and this news will change the nature of how and what we read,” said Dan Leibu, chief technology officer, Kobo.
your audience (including media and consumers) neither understands nor cares. You might get a footnote in some of the Facebook stories, but nothing that will impact your business. The only impact on your brand will be negative.
Oh, and have you noticed that not everyone is all gaga about Facebook right at the moment? Might have been an idea to hold off on this Big Announcement until next week. Or not do a traditional announcement at all (gasp!).
I really do hope the good folks up at Kobo get their marketing act together. That they come to realize that books tend to be purchased by people who, um, read. And that said people already congregate online and in person. A little observation would go a long way.