May 29, 2015

Here’s the best promotional swag from BEA


Not a Jonathan Franzen promo item, I think.

Not a Jonathan Franzen promo item, I think.

If you’ve been slowly wrecking your immune system at the Javits Center this week for #BEA15, it’s old news that publishers are going all-out promotionwise. With enough totes to fill a container ship and enough galleys to fill a rolling suitcase that is as big as a container ship, there’s no shortage of objects reminding you that your money is better spent on books than, say, rent. (Fact.) You’ve seen them, the hardcore BEA collectors, their bags and pockets bulging with logo-emblazoned Stuff™, slouching up and down the aisles in search of another fix.

But amidst this annual Hamsterdam of publishing merch, you can find some real winners. Am I talking about the City On Fire commemorative matchboxes? The Go Set A Watchman pins? The Hachette multitool? Nope! Those trinkets pale in comparison to the true winners of publishing’s marketing orgy. Below are the books and companies whose free promo items really go the distance!

Go Set A Watchman by Harper LeeOriginal signed edition of the little-known prequel (supplies very limited)

Happy by Pharrell Williams: Gift certificate for free Happy™ Dance Lessons (redeemable for everyone but Anne Marsen, for some reason)

Purity by Jonathan Franzen: A Post-it with Jonathan Franzen’s official Ello username written on it

“Beautiful China” photo exhibit booth: Tibet

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham: Official Get Out Of Jail Free Card (valid only in Canada, for some reason)

Welcome To Night Vale (The Novel): Remember to wear this tote bag on your head at all times. Don’t take it off. They don’t need to see what happened to your eyes in the shadowy grove behind the abandoned hospital.

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom: First 100 copies pre-signed to your mom

MAKE ME: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child: The chance to write the official verified Urban Dictionary definition of “jack reacher”

Bream Gives Me Hiccups and Other Stories by Jesse Eisenberg: Jesse Eisenberg will patiently listen to every one of your many opinions on the End Of The Tour trailer

Strong Is the New Sexy: A Kick Ass Memoir by Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi: A commemorative booklet of writing tips, drawn from the author’s experience of authoring both this book and ghostwriting City On Fire simultaneously over the course of three amazing months 

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography: Authentic hand-boiled Kansan water

The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin: A flash drive with all the rest of the leaked episodes from this season of Game Of Thrones, which basically spoils the entire book anyway

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson: A 2200-page bookmark

Liam O'Brien is the Sales & Marketing Manager at Melville House, and a former bookseller.