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She who tells the best story wins.

The Year in Ideas

My favorite issue of the New York Times magazine is the Year in Ideas.

The entire issue is worth a read, as always.  But these six ideas have specific implications for marketing, media, publishing, or public relations.  Definitely don’t miss them:

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Filed under: Inspiration

Trash or Treasure: The Blu Dot Marketing Stunt

This week’s Consumed column in the New York Times Magazine features a fun marketing stunt. I’m not usually a fan of marketing or PR stunts — I think they backfire more often than they hit and they often reek of desperation.

But this one is fun — on brand, simple, social. Blu Dot, a maker of modern furniture, put some of its chairs out on the streets of New York City with a GPS attached. When people picked up the chairs and took them home, Blu Dot’s marketing agency reached out for an interview. Almost everyone who got a chair participated in the interviews. This lead the writer to conclude “As for the potential negative reaction to this marketing as street theater, there doesn’t seem to have been much. Maybe there’s a parallel to the way most Americans are said to loathe Congress in general but keep re-electing their own representatives: Marketing is an awful intrusion, unless we’re totally into the chair (or whatever) being marketed.”

Indeed.

Filed under: Marketing, Social Networking

The Future of Book Publishing

In this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, Deborah Solomon interviews Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. This exchange from the Q & A is great and neatly illuminates the real seismic shift that is coming to book publishing:

JEFF BEZOS: We also have a self-service platform where small publishers or even self-published authors can put their books on themselves.

DEBORAH SOLOMON: How does that work?

JB: Basically you submit the book, you set the price for it, we charge the customer and then we give you 35 percent of the revenue.

DS: And Amazon keeps 65 percent? That sounds like a lot.

JB: Does it? You’re an author, what does your royalty check look like? Are your royalties 35 percent?

DS: No. Let’s not have that conversation.

JB: O.K., I think we’re done.

I think the future of book publishing looks more like movie-making where a group of people (writer, editor, publicist, and so on) sign on for a project, get it financed and sell it. Publishing houses still exist, but in very different form than we know them today. They are more like modern movie studios and exist mainly to provide distribution and sales support. The good news for writers is they will have a lot more control over their destinies and will realize a lot more of the revenue from their work. The bad news, for many, is they will need to take responsibility for their own success. Unlike some pundits, I think this points to a real future for smart literary agents. The best agents will morph themselves into producers who can help talented writers get financing and find the best editors, marketers and publicists to work with. Since many writers aren’t naturally good at promoting themselves this will be an important role in a brave new publishing world and one that many agents could excel at.

Filed under: Media & Publishing

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