Friday, September 29, 2006

Things in the mail

Friday again, and I took the day off (I'm maxed out on vacation time - sad life I lead, don't I), so on to more amusing topics. A recent entry in Library Journal's book blog, which referenced an article in The Book Standard, made me think about the creative promotional goodies that publishers have sent along with their review copies. Since HNR is a specialized book review journal, I'm not inundated with either books, packages, or promotional swag. But when things besides books and press releases do show up in the jiffy bags, it's kind of fun.

One of the more memorable items I've received was a small clay oil lamp, which accompanied a review copy of one of Bodie & Brock Thoene's biblical novels from Tyndale House. Pens are fairly common. My favorite is one I still have - a ballpoint pen that commemorated the publication of Lewis & Clark's journals, from University of Nebraska Press. The body was filled with some clear liquid (same one found in snow globes, no doubt) in which a tiny ship sailed back and forth on the Mississippi.

One publisher regularly sends history page-a-day calendars in December. We've used them at the reference desk for the past few years. During 2006 we've been looking at Famous Facts about the Founding Fathers. Last year, it was Day By Day in the American Revolution.

More recently, Avon sent a large box of chocolates along with the galley of Stephanie Laurens' 20th historical romance. It was very impressive: the outer box was also made of solid chocolate. I don't deal with Avon - they meant it for one of my co-editors, but listed my address on the package by mistake - so I felt I had to apologize for not sending it on to her. It was summer, and I was worried it would melt in the mail en route to Baltimore, see. (Truth be told, I'm not into chocolates, but my fellow librarians are.)

The promotional goodies do work in that I generally remember the books they accompany. They don't affect the reviews in any way, though. I wish I could say the HNR review of the Laurens novel turned out well, but from what my coworkers tell me, the chocolates were excellent.


  1. Swag for reviewers - the things you learn about! Sounds like it does help to make one remember a book, though, so maybe it does serve a purpose.

  2. The free stuff is a lot more common at book conventions. I usually come home from BEA with half a dozen tote bags, lots of pens, also whistles, rulers, bookmarks, and stress balls (the cats enjoy these). Getting stuff in the mail doesn't happen often, at least for me, so maybe that's why I remember it.

    As with the people at Library Journal, nobody has ever sent me cash. This is understandable but unfortunate. (Yes, I'm kidding :)