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Literature and Marketing

  • Claire Squires
Chapter
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Abstract

Literature has long had a close yet difficult relationship to marketing. The publishing industry and other intermediary agencies involved in the transmission of reading matter work within a marketplace which, in addition to the demands of commerce, incorporates the values enshrined in cultural activity. This dual nature of the publishing industry is one that has led to the tension referred to by Lewis A. Coser, Charles Kadushin and Walter W. Powell in their oft-quoted dictum in Books: The Culture and Commerce of Publishing (1982), to the effect that, ‘The industry remains perilously poised between the requirements and restraints of commerce and the responsibilities and obligations that it must bear as a prime guardian of the symbolic culture of the nation.’1 Marketing, if taken broadly as the activity by which literature is brought to the commercial marketplace, is the catalyst for much of this tension, and in the specific form of publishers’ and retailers’ promotional activities, it is frequently taken both to symbolise and actualise the shifting relationship of art to business.

Keywords

Marketing Activity Publishing Industry Reading Group Book Trade Marketing Communication 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 3.
    In ‘I Write Marketing Textbooks but I’m Really a Swill Guy’, Chris Hackley notes Dag Smith’s comment in Patrick Forsyth and Robin Birn, Marketing in Publishing (London: Routledge, 1997) to the effect that ‘book publishing is still product- rather than marketing-led but argues that this is rapidly changing, at least in the UK industry’. In Brown, ed., Consuming Books, 175–82, 178.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
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    Stephen Brown, Anne Marie Doherty and Bill Clarke’s self-reflexive Romancing the Market (London: Routledge, 1998) is one example. Brown’s Consuming Books has two chapters that look at books about marketing: Charles Chandler’s ‘No Experience Necessary (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Marketing)’, 167–74, and Chris Hackley’s ‘I Write Marketing Textbooks but I’m Really a Swill Guy’, 175–82.Google Scholar
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    Book historians do legitimate their study with the claim that histories of the book are in fact histories of the world — or at least of a particular part of society in a given place and time. As Thomas R. Adams and Nicolas Barker write in ‘A New Model for the Study of the Book’, in Nicolas Barker, ed., A Potencie of Life: Books in Society. The Clark Lectures 1986–1987. The British Library Studies in the History of the Book (London: The British Library, 1993), 5–43, 12, ‘for a period of roughly five hundred years the printed book reigned supreme, as a method of recording, communication and storing all that people put on paper: knowledge, ideas, persuasion (political or religious), diversions, etc. Its influence on one or more of these areas touched almost every aspect of what we call western civilization, in ways we still have to discover.’Google Scholar
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    Chris Fill, Marketing Communications: Contexts, Contents and Strategies (London: Prentice Hall, 1999; 2nd edn.), 1. In her essay ‘The Bridge from Text to Mind: Adapting Reader-Response Theory to Consumer Research’, in Journal of Consumer Research 21 (December 1994), 461–80, Linda M. Scott made an interesting attempt to bring together these two sets of discourse.Google Scholar
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    See Stephen Brown, Wizard! Harry Potter’s Brand Magic (London: Cyan Books, 2005), for an investigation of this.Google Scholar
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    P. R. Smith Marketing Communications: An Integrated Approach (London: Kogan Page, 1998; 2nd edn.), 509.Google Scholar
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© Claire Squires 2007

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  • Claire Squires

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