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How Social Media Sold One Book

August 20, 2009

I sign onto Facebook and notice a friend of mine is a fan of Nick Hornby.

I realize: hey, I’m a fan of Nick Hornby, too!

When I click on his fan page, I further  realize he has issued a third volume in the awesome Believer series of collected reviews/columns; this one has a rocking title:  Shakespeare Wrote for Money.  Having been completely sold on this by the previous volumes–holy smokes: a literary brand . . . a series with a distinct identity–I resolve to buy it.

On the way home from the grocery store, I stop at common good books (@commongoodbooks to you) and buy a copy.

There are all sorts of implications swirling around this, but I like to bring marketing down to moments because that’s what marketing is: a series of successful moments.

Three of those implications:

1. Social media is great for the arts, because people naturally talk about books and movies and music.  They naturally become fans of authors.

2. This transaction, which took less than a day, was the culmination of a whole bunch of work on the part of Nick Hornby and the Believer. The brand–by which I mean a set of credible promises about quality and values signaled by smart graphic design–had spent years building in my head.

3. Would I have bought it at Common Good if they hadn’t been on twitter? Yes. They are my neighborhood bookstore. But twitter has somehow knitted me closer to them. I’ve gone from customer to champion.

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