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39 posts from May 2007

Billboard Ads for Books


When was the last time you saw a billboard ad for a book?  I can't tell you the last one I recall seeing, but Michael Banks, co-author of Crosley: Two Brothers and a Business Empire That Transformed the Nation (my review here) sent me the picture you see above.  It's a billboard ad for his book and it's across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, on I-75 South, facing the city.  Very cool.

Speaking of Michael Banks, we just signed him to write a new book for our group at Wiley.  It's a book that I'm very excited about and it's tentatively titled Blogging Heroes...stay tuned for more details...

Sports Fighting for Relevance: Indy 500, Boxing & NHL

TrophyIt's Memorial Day weekend and the networks are loaded with sporting events.  It's sad to watch as the interest in two sports (boxing and the NHL) and one pseudo-sport (Indy car racing) seems to get smaller and smaller every year.  These were all much more significant when I was a kid in the 70's than they are today.  What's gone wrong?

Boxing seems to be giving way to the Ultimate Fighting Championships; aren't these the same events that John McCain once characterized as "human cock fighting"?!  I guess boxing is simply too tame for today's average viewer.

Speaking of fighting, what happened to hockey?  It's always been #2 on my list of favorite sports (behind baseball) but it's nowhere to be seen.  After the lockout a couple of years ago the league was unable to secure a television deal with a major network.  Now the game is lost in the land of Versus...what a joke.  You'd think the Stanley Cup Finals would deserve national network attention but no, the first two games are only on the Versus network.  This league is going nowhere fast.

Finally, the IndyCar series and its crown jewel, the Indianapolis 500.  Simply put, NASCAR is kicking its butt!  Even here in Indianapolis there seems to be more interest in the NASCAR series than IndyCar.  And while I'm all for equal opportunity in everything, the 3 women in this year's 500 have been blown up into a carnival sideshow.  It's just like when Michelle Wie was competing in all those men's golf tournaments.  The people that run the 500 are also stuck in the TV blackout days of the 1970's: To this day the race cannot be viewed live in the Indianapolis area.  They don't realize that if you're in Indianapolis you're either (a) visiting here to attend the race, (b) a "local" who is attending the race or (c) a "local" who could care less.  Those in "a" and "b" will already be there...those in category "c" might check out a few minutes as they're channel surfing, but there's no way they'll watch a tape-delayed version later that night!  Can you say "lost advertising opportunity"?

LibraryThing "Early Reviewers" Program

Librarything_2I've talked about LibraryThing before and I'm still a big fan.  See the randomly generated list of 6 covers down the left panel of my blog for proof -- that's the LibraryThing widget at work.

The folks at LibraryThing recently announced a new program called Early Reviewers and I think it's a great idea.  In essence, LibraryThing is going to help publishers distribute early/review copies of their books to interested readers.  Random House is the first publisher in the program and this blog post notes that eventually the program will be open to other publishers.  (I hope someone from the Wiley PR team hooks up with Tim Spalding at LibraryThing and gets us signed up for the program!)

Why is this a great idea?  As a result of the book reviews I write on this blog I've gotten to know a lot of PR people at different publishing houses (thank you all for the comp copies you continue to send!).  Despite their best efforts and intentions, most of them don't have the resources to identify, contact and coordinate shipments to all the bloggers and other community members who could read/review their books.  LibraryThing tends to attract rabid book fans, including plenty of reviewers your typical publishing PR person simply doesn't have the time to hunt down.

If you're not using LibraryThing yet, you should be.  If you're interested in joining the Early Reviewers program, sign up here.


Dailylit_logo_smallWhat a great idea that seems so obvious: Deliver books to readers one small piece at a time so that they can read it on their cell phone, Blackberry, etc., when they have a few minutes to spare.  That's exactly what DailyLit offers.

After reviewing their categories page it looks like they have more than 600 different titles available, most of which fall into the Classics area.  They're all free for now, but this article notes that they're looking at a paid model with newer content down the road.  I think it's also interesting that they're talking about using this model to distribute the first chapter or two of upcoming books; what a great way for publishers to secure customers early and get them hooked on a soon-to-be-released book!

I'm going to give it a shot.  The next time you see me in a meeting "checking my Blackberry for new messages" I might really be reading today's installment of Ben Franklin's autobiography...

BusinessWeek's Company Insight Center

Bw_2A recent issue of BusinessWeek magazine hypes their new Company Insight Center.  I don't recall the article saying it was only in beta, but that's apparently the case.  It sounded like a great resource where you could get all the information you need for public and private companies...

Just for fun, I decided to look up my employer, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.  The most logical entry in the search results for "Wiley" is this one, entitled "Wiley Publishing Inc."  I chuckled when I saw the page it links to as it lists the executives who headed up the old Hungry Minds, Inc., organization, which Wiley acquired in 2001.  None of those people are part of the Wiley organization and haven't been for at least the last 5 years!  I guess I won't spend much time using this site for any serious least not until they get this entry fixed and move beyond the beta stage.