books on the radio


Content vs Advertising: Lisa Charters @ Random House Canada

The mercurial Alexa Clark interviews Lisa Charters, SVP Digital @ Random House Canada, about respecting a customer’s “time and energy” and the usefulness of ‘book trailers’.

I have always been suspicious of book trailers.  I understand the concept: brief videos consumed online advertising a new book. Slick tantalizing digital productions for the printed word.  I can imagine what a revolutionary idea this must have seemed to be when it was hatched in some reflective tower on Madison Avenue.  But the book is the intersection of the reader’s imagination and the writer’s vision and the publisher’s marketing department needs to stand out of the way.  Trailers, with their representations of location, mood, even the visual depiction of a character can ruin that experience for the reader.

In the brief interview above, Lisa Charters speaks about giving the consumer and their media partners ‘content’ rather than advertising.   Content comes in the form of useful or interesting information like an author interview while advertising is something – like a trailer – designed to sell the book.  Charters notes that content has an increased chance of being seen online because it offers opinions or insights that are valuable while advertising is expensive to produce and highly ignorable by definition.

I met Lisa during BookCamp Toronto 2009.  She attended my early session on Digital Rights Management and also lead the session “The Quagmire of International Copyright in the Digital Age.”  She was totally engaged in every session that she attended that day and I learned a lot from her just by listening.  Thanks to Alexa and Lisa for making the above interview happen.

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