Friday, November 7, 2008

Thomas Nelson's Marketing Experiment

Publisher Thomas Nelson has established a marketing campaign called the Book Review Bloggers Program. Book bloggers who sign up for the program get free books in exchange for writing reviews. Book blogs have been getting free books from publishers for a long time now, so this campaign is nothing more than a formalization of the status quo. Importantly, there's absolutely no requirement that the resulting reviews be positive or even luke warm. All that's required is a "200-word review on your blog and on any consumer retail website."

Thomas Nelson's book blogger campaign shows an admirable recognition of the future of literary criticism. As major media outlets continue to downsize or eliminate book coverage, the book blogosphere has been picking up the slack. Add to that the ever increasing blog audience, and it seems self-evident that any good marketing strategy must recognize the bloggers.

Some appear to be worried about Thomas Nelson's democratization of book reviewing. Edward Champion, in a post over at the Guardian's blog, unpersuasively bashes the new program. Without providing any support for his opinion, Champion states that bloggers are "compromising their work" by participating in Thomas Nelson's program. If that's the case, then Champion's judgment applies to every book reviewer who's ever reviewed a book received free from a publisher. Champion concludes with this question: "will the blogosphere ever understand that surrendering to marketing forces simply isn't a substitute for journalistic integrity?" What is he talking about?


Amy said...

It's just another attack against the book blogosphere. sigh. power to the people!!

Gwen Dawson said...

The strange thing is I think Edward Champion is quite a blogger himself. I'd be interested to hear if he's got some other theories not explained in his post why he thinks this program is a bad idea.


Book Lover Lisa said...

Hmm. Interesting. I looked at the Thomas Nelson program, and the article in the guardian; and he seems to list different details than the program actually required.

I suppose I can understand where he is coming from as a journalist. To have restrictions to a review would seem to take away some of the integrity of it. But, for those ten thousand everyday bloggers who are targeted, it seems like not such a bad thing. Would it be less of a sell out for us to buy the book to review it?

BTW, I am enjoying reading your blog. Lots of good info.

mike mitchell said...

Champion's article reads like he's a well-entrenched reviewer who fears honest competition.