Abebooks Begins International Advertising Campaign

- by Michael Stillman

Bush

"Not-book" by George W. Bush admits to a mistake...not!


By Michazel Stillman

As Abebooks promised at its recent Bookseller's Summit, they will begin a substantial international advertising campaign this month. The theme is "If you can't find it here, it doesn't exist." Most Abe dealers have already received, or have had the opportunity to order, bookmarks containing this message. However, the theme will be carried over to other media, such as magazines, throughout the summer and remainder of the year.

In an announcement sent to dealers, Abebooks explained that the theme would be backed by images of "not-books," that is, images of books with humorous titles that do not really exist. For example, there is one from George W. Bush entitled Whoops. I Was Wrong, or there is Henry VIII's Making Marriage Work. Frequent flyers will appreciate Chicken or Beef? The World's Best Loved Airline Recipes. These titles, naturally, fall under the "it doesn't exist" part of the theme. Abebooks stated that along with the bookmarks, the message would be seen in advertisements in North America, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. Among the magazines which will carry Abe's advertising are The New Yorker, New York Times Book Review, Literary Review of Canada, Good Reading Australia, and The London Review of Books.

We asked Abebooks' PR Manager Richard Davies how much would be invested in the campaign. He responded that Abe was not giving out exact figures, but that it is part of their 10th anniversary celebration, and "it is by far the largest marketing campaign that we have ever conducted in terms of spending and bookseller involvement." He stated at this point Abe sellers have already ordered more than 2 million bookmarks, and emphasized that these are more than ordinary page holders. They carry unique numbers that will allow holders to log onto the Abebooks site to win a 'round the world trip along with hundreds of other, "instant win" prizes.

We asked for more specifics about the advertising campaign, and whether it would extend beyond print media. Davies told us that while the campaign has heavily invested in print, it extends to other media as well. Right now, he said, Abe partners with the "Book Guys" radio show on NPR, which is broadcast on 45 stations, and is mentioning their contest. Online marketing, according to Davies, "is always a huge part of our business." This includes paid search, affiliated websites, and comparison-shopping engines. Additionally, the site will be using viral marketing through "e-cards" featuring the "not-books" that people can send to their friends from Abe's site. And, along with the bookmarks, Abe will be supplying posters and package stickers to their dealers.

Davies noted that the advertising, print media in particular, is targeted toward the primary Abebooks' customer. This, he explains, is an "older, affluent, educated, professional, heavy reader."