Why are there no ads for audio books?
When I sat down to write this, I was actually thinking, “Why don’t book publishers promote audiobooks more?” And then I realized they don’t really promote anything at all.
Maybe I’m missing something, but there seem to be darn few ads for books, let alone audio books on CD or MP3. I made (and lost) a bet with a friend last Superbowl that there would be no ads for beverages or cars in the next 2 minute ad segment. I figured the chances were 50/50. Not so. For the next 10 ad segments, there was always an ad for a car or a beverage. So that settles who advertises the most.
But what about books? Movies get advertised, in fact you can tell how good a movie is going to be by how few ads you see for it. Video games are now getting advertised too, as if I didn’t already have enough to occupy my free time…
So what is it with the books? I hear about books through my friends, and through in-store displays. Sometimes it’s the “people who bought this, also bought…” feature on our website, or at Amazon. But often, I don’t hear about them at all. Much to my surprise, Frederick Forsythe, one of my favourite authors, came out with a (not so) new audiobook, “The Afghan”. I would’ve bought or rented it instantly, but had no idea it existed.
A lot of books get sold every year. There are bestseller lists, Oprah’s recommendations, book clubs… but no advertising. Is it because the market is too small? At $20 billion/yr I don’t think so. Music gets advertised incessantly – it’s called the radio. No such thing for books. I’m starting to find it amazing that people read books at all, given the dearth of promotion.
The only time I hear about books when I’m not actively looking is when a new Harry Potter comes out, or a movie based on a book comes out. There’s something very odd going on here. Every other form of content I can think of gets tons of advertising – music, movies, video games, DVDs, television shows… but not books. I’d love to end this blog entry with an answer, but I don’t have one. Maybe someone out there will think of something and enlighten all of us.