One of my favorite blogs to read is Roni Loren’s blog. She has an interesting post today. The post is titled Does Swag Sell Books? It’s a great question as authors and publishing houses spend tons of money each year printing bookmarks and postcards and having pens and pins made. As an author and a publisher I’ve often wondered do those pens that I have printed actually sell any books? What about the bookmarks and post cards? Do readers actually pick them up at the bookstore? Do they actually read the blurbs? Buy the books?
The consensus over at Roni’s blog seems to be that no one buys books based off the swag they collect – at least at writer’s conferences.
I can’t say that I’ve ever bought a book strictly from reading a postcard about it or picking up a bookmark. But then, I think there is a difference between an advertising piece selling me a specific book and an advertising piece loosening me up to at some point in the future be predisposed to consider buying a specific piece or a piece by a specific author.
With so many new authors entering the market lately I find that I rely a lot on name recognition — not so much whether I recognize the author by reputation or by what he or she writes…but whether I recognize the name at all. I am more likely to check out a book by an author whose name I recognize. If I can say, ah yes, I’ve heard of her, I’m more likely to check out the book link to Amazon than if I’ve never heard of the author before. In that way I think the book swag plays a role in softening me up. It doesn’t account for an immediate sale but may contribute to one down the road.
If I really like the sound of the book from the blurb I may even add the book to my TBP list at Goodreads. Of course, there is a lot on that list…and that a book is on that list doesn’t necessarily mean that I will ever get around to buying the book. But, when I am in the mood to shop for books that is often the list I go to when choosing what to buy…and that’s a much narrower pool than all of Amazon…so in that respect the swag probably helps.
What about you. Do you take author swag at conferences, bookstores, and book fairs? What kinds of swag do you like to get? Does swag impact the likelihood you will buy an author’s book either in the short term or long term?
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