Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Mad Penguin Men

When I got the damaged copy of Black Plumes that I talked about yesterday, I also picked up another Margery Allingham that had managed to hang on to its cover. Surprisingly, instead of leaving the paper blank, or covering it with quotes from reviews or information about the author, Penguin used the extra space for revenue raising via the medium of ads:

I wonder why this practice disappeared. Maybe, given the problems the book industry is now facing, it might be worth bringing it back into use.

It would be important of course to match products to book content, if the advertisements were to be really effective. The example that springs to mind immediately is Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Surely the narrator's opening statement -

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet ... I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can" 

- represents a perfect opportunity for a drug company. A well-placed picture on the inside cover - a happy couple, walking arm in arm through rolling country  - plus a large letter caption would work wonders, I imagine:

"No need to waste half your life on the high seas - just take Zoloft!"

There must be so many other possibilities. All suggestions welcomed.

No comments:

Post a Comment