Publishing Brands

In response to “Sifting Through All These Books” by Hugh McGuire. 2010.


In the online blogging world, similar blogs are linked together by those who produce them for the purpose of discoverability. If you like this one blog, you will probably also be interested in another blog that they have linked to because the writer believes that their blog is similar to that other one (or that the other one is of good quality, approaches interesting questions, talks about important subject matter, ect.). In order to reproduce this in the real-life-publishing-world, perhaps publishing houses should focus on promoting their brand as a whole.

Publishing Houses have started doing this when they started promoting their books through social media, as different publishing houses have different Twitter handles and Facebook pages…although it appears that they are primarily focussing on the books themselves. Hear me out, obviously they want to promote their new books being launched. But what if they did this in the context of what is on their backlist? Not just, hey this is a great new book, lets get some good reviews for it by newspapers and that will be endorsement enough. What if they focussed on how they are a well respected publishing house and this is their new book? They have a reputation of putting out good quality books so this new one is also probably be good quality. Shouldn’t the fact that a well respected publishing house published the book be an endorsement for the book?


For example: when a new David Suzuki book comes out, Greystone Books does not have to work very hard to sell it to their fans. It is generally known (by the avid readers of David Suzuki) that Greystone Books publishes Suzuki’s books. But when they publish other environmental books, should Greystone publicize how these new books fit into their list? Should the launches of Terra Preta and Slick Water ( both non-fiction books on environmental controversies) be positioned as being published by the publishing house that publishes David Suzuki? It seems like a good marketing idea; they may not be written in exactly the same tone or the same environmental issue – but if Greystone believes in the book enough to publish it, is that not a huge endorsement? It seems reasonable to believe that if one reader liked Slick Water, then they will probably also be interested in The Big Picture and Climate Cover-Up because they are also non-fiction titles on environmental issues of similar quality.
For the everyday reader  (the ones that buy books as a form of entertainment) the brand of the publisher may not be very important. But for the readers who read because they love books, publisher brands could prove to be very important. It would be capitalizing on the same concept that blogs linking together used; if you liked this, you will probably like this because I endorse it. This is the same concept Kobo uses in their curated recommendation lists, just based on the publishing house instead of the subject manner. Publishers work diligently to build a cohesive and quality list based around their mission statement – perhaps it is time that this hard work was utilized in the marketing plan.

One Reply to “Publishing Brands”

  1. This response brings up what seems like a reasonable idea. Publishers already set up imprints to create a cohesive list of titles, but the branding of the imprint is not typically used as a way of helping readers discover content. While the point comes across well, it would have been great to have seen it linked a little more explicitly with the reading which it is responding to. Similarly, I think the message and idea would have come across more clearly had it been written in a slightly more formal (less conversational) style.

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