Thursday, January 23, 2014

Can Book Publishing Have A Super Bowl Moment?

Super Bowl XLVIII is fast approaching and football fans are looking forward to seeing the top-seeded conference teams face off in the deep-freeze environs of the Meadowlands.  But the economics of the NFL -- and indeed all of pro sports -- is so skewed that you have to wonder how an industry like book publishing can get a piece of the pie.

The championship game is sold out. Over 75,000 tickets, with face values ranging from $500 to $2,500, are gone.  The resale market is easily doubling and tripling the price.  All of the commercial TV time has been purchased at  a record  rate of four million bucks per a 30-second spot.  Big game, big money.  Can book publishing ever have such a high-priced moment?

I’ve written before that book publishing doesn’t have the big-stage moment, like an Oscars, or a Hall of fame, or a theme park, or even a day to celebrate its contribution to society.  Books entertain, inform, enlighten, or inspire us, and they make a difference in the quality of our lives.  Yet the industry struggles to sell 99-cent eBooks or to find a way to make Barnes & Noble profitable.

What lessons can book publishing learn from pro sports?

First, form an organization that brings everyone in book publishing together – not just a group of select publishers or one of independent stores or one of literary agents or of southern romance writers – one big nationwide group with a catch-all name.

Second, have regional branches of this group, so people can participate at a local level.

Third, hold an annual event that is open to the public, beyond Book Expo America’s recent experiment to turn the last day of BEA into a consumer-attended convention.

Fourth, have a series of events, regionally, throughout the year.  Celebrate the book and take advantage of the many things books connect us to.  Bring in corporate sponsors and put some money behind it.

Fifth, you need a televised event, some type of packaged show that gets the media talking about you.  Give out awards, lifetime achievements, feature bestselling authors, highlight movie connections, take us behind the scenes of book publishing, and hold contests that invite consumer participation.

The NFL is a multi-billion dollar enterprise spread out over just 32 teams.  Book publishing has millions of authors and professionals that can participate in its own Super Bowl.  Let’s make it happen!

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect (, the nation’s largest book promoter. Please note Stickability is promoted by Media Connect. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

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