Friday, January 29, 2010

Niche marketing

What's your favorite example of blatantly money-grubbing niche marketing in the book trade? (Your title need not include chicken soup.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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12 Comments:

Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Pretty much any successful motivational books is going to spawn bastard children. For example, I was looking at Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People on Amazon.com when I noticed he had a sequel -- The 8th Habit. Come on! If it was that important, surely you could've squeezed another chapter into the original!

January 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"The 8th Habit"? Are you serious? That's the absolute worst. Lord pity anyone gullible enough to buy it. Its title could work as a sequel to "The Sixth Sense," though.

January 29, 2010  
Blogger Johnny Ostentatious said...

That whole TWILIGHT series makes me laugh. That's niche marketing at its finest -- a neutered version of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. I don't think I'll ever forget vacationing in Sydney in Dec. '08 and seeing a huge Stephanie Meyer display at a bookstore down there. Creepy. . . .

January 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've been out of the vampire seen since Dracula cut his teeth, but you've made a good choice, I'd say; even I got a bit of the excitement surrounding Buffy. I'm susprised only that the copycatting took a few years.

January 29, 2010  
Anonymous John H said...

The stop women from smoking book reminded me of a nasty picture making the rounds on the internet a couple of years ago. It was an open pack of cigarettes with altered filters. The caption of course was "How to get your girlfriend to quit smoking". I'm not sure which is the most disgusting.

January 30, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I have a firm opinion on which was most disgusting.

Still, the first comment here highlighted the phenomenon of money-grubbing sequels to motivational books. That seems especially unsavory, a deliberate effort to take advantage of people's need for help. Of course, one might argue that anyone who spend money on some of the more ludicrous titles deserves what he or she gets. Still, the practice seems a touch more dubious that that of making silly sequels to movies or letting a crime-fiction series run too long.

January 30, 2010  
Blogger TBlaze said...

Don't forget Allen Carr's book on how to quit drinking. I thought this was absurd. Just keep the title and replace "smoking" with any other vice.

January 31, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I suppose I should sympathize with Allen Carr and Stephen Covey. If everyone adopted the seven habits or quit smoking and drinking, the market for their books would disappear. They must create as many new cravings or spin the old ones out into as many permutations as possible if they want to keep making money.

I share your frustration at commuters who play their music too loud. I read of a case -- in Germany, I believe -- in which a man killed someone in a fight for talking too loudly on his cell phone. I'd consider contributing to a defense fund for him.

January 31, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

What about all those Da Vinci Code spinoffs? Including the Fodor's Guide to the Da Vinci Code.

Before I knew anything about the novel's spurious, laughable premise and its poor prose I knew I wouldn't want to read it as soon as I saw the _cover_ because no book purporting to reference Leonardo da Vinci would refer to him as "Da Vinci" but rather as Leonardo.

February 01, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I think ancillary books such as the ones you mentioned are related but different phenomena from sequels or cheesy efforts to turn one book into many, as with the books illustrated here. And don't forget that such more-respected figures as Stieg Larsson and our man Camilleri have given rise to spinoffs.

February 01, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

OK, well, what about going back farther in time to the "Men Are from Mars, Women are from Venus" franchise? This drivel, I mean seminal text, was republished with the subtitle "The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex."

Subsequent titles included "Mars and Venus on a Date: A Guide to Navigating the 5 Stages of Dating to Create a Loving and Lasting Relationship," "Mars and Venus in the Bedroom," "Mars and Venus in Love," "Mars and Venus Together Forever" (are you beginning to see the very clever progression?)

February 01, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Plaintiffs' Lawyers Are From Venus, Respondents' Attorneys Are From Mars: The Classic Guide to Love and Divorce" was my favorite.

You've hit the all-timer. A acam like that is bound to have been reissued in a "Special 10th (or 25the or whatewer) Anniversary Edition."

Hmm, I may have to do a post about the related phenomna of DVD and graphic-novel "special editions."

February 01, 2010  

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