Monday, January 26, 2009

Stickers and Monsters (S and M)

Stickers-gummed labels- adhesive labels. We know what they are, and we've seen them in various guises on books in all the big shops.

The 3 for 2 sticker is very succesful, and seems to work very well at getting people to buy that extra book.

Obviously the money off sticker is a vital way of letting the public know that the publisher realises that it's whacked on a few quid and knows you're not really going to pay almost £19 for a dreadful biography of someone whose only real claim to fame is that he flashed his willy on Underwater Celebrity Puppy Grooming (or a book written by a Top Gear presenter).

I don't have a problem with stickers, as long as they come off. Who wants to have a book with a £8 off sticker permanently glued to the cover?

So we come to Richard and Judy...inevitably. They big and famous and we listen to stuff they tell us. They make a book club and then The Yummy Chocolate sponsored book awards give one of the authors from their book club lots of sweets and some cash (probably). Richard and Judy, mmmmm. Chocolate, mmmmm.

Sorry about that.

So, obviously there's some cache in being on the R and J shortlist, and publishers like to boast about the fact that they have books on this list, and as such, make sure that their book has a sticker which says (i'm paraphrasing here) 'Ooh Richard and Judy like us .Look Look Look!'.

Now this sticker is designed to encourage people to buy the book from the shop. Once that's happened, it's job is done, and it can retire to a small cottage in the Welsh hills, safe in the knowledge that it's life hasn't been wasted. The person who chose the book can now peel the sticker from the book, and roll it into a thin tube (stick it in their mouths and pretend it's a cigarette), and throw it away.

BUT NO!!!!

We have some of the list in the shop, all with the stickers on. Except one. The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (no relation to George). The sticker design has actually been printed on the cover of the book! It is now part of the cover! This is..excuse my wotsits..fucking ridiculous. Atlantic (the publishers) had someone design this wonderful cover...

and then, when they heard that R and J had chosen the book they had something like this printed on the front cover.
I ask you......I must stress this is printed on. It's not a sticker, it's there for good. Pillocks...

In other news, I had a strange note pushed through my door this morning. It appears that Sam Enthoven, author of the rather marvellous Black Tattoo, and Tim Defender of the Earth has been Trapped By Monsters in a cave with 7 other authors.

Don't believe me? Then click on this strange babble. 'fkjeohgnoihrlknoiuq' and all will be revealed. Tell your kids...they may be able to help.


San said...

I've heard this sticker-printing (horrible, if you ask me (and you did)) is normal practice in the States... And R&J have been doing it for a while now (see:


Rol said...

You're right - stickers must come off. I hate it when I see somebody reading a book with the sticker still on... People who leave the stickers on their CDs and DVDs are just as bad. It's just plain wrong!

Mark Thornton said...

"This Book Will Save Your Life" by Amy Homes had the sticker 'printed into' the book. That's how important the accolade is to the publisher. Whack it on - shift the units. Depressing.

You used to a) receive the books, and b) receive the stickers - and could choose to stick them on. Now it's an 'opt-out' exercise and, frankly, life is too short to peel off scores of stickers and risk damaging covers.

The *worst* aspect of the current British Book Award stickers is that the British Book Award 'bit' is in tiny letters at the bottom, after the large R&J + Galaxy logos. Most people coming into the shop at the moment go, 'oh, it's a Richard & Judy pick' and put it back. I don't know how much they paid for that sponsorship, but - for them - it was money well spent.

Worst offender though: Walker Books BOGOF stickers. Impossible to get off. Im-poss-ible. Consider using them for knitting skull fractures together by all means, but book offers - madness. Serves us right I suppose for getting a dumpbin in...

andrea said...

Thanks, Mark: that's exactly my experience (walker bogof books).
I got some as remainders from last years' promo and they wouldn't come off either.

**big tip from the bookbinding business though** get some nail varnish remover (the stuff with acteone in it - not the new fangled "no-acetone" rubbish) and some cotton wool and gently wipe. It does take a while, but it works!
(don't do it too hard or you'll rub the ink off)

San said...

Haven't tried it yet, but eucalyptus oil apparently helps, too. And it clears your sinuses, all in one go!

CPMatthew said...

We use pure spit and elbow grease at C & P...

Anonymous said...

The R and J stickers are the most annoying thiing about book buying!!

They are obviously stuck on with some strange new superglue.
Why they do this when most retailers have discovered the relatively easy peal variety.

I have nothing against R and J booklist and tend to think people who do demonstrate some of that dreaded book snobbery that you sometimes come across.

however they mave made me determined never to buy another bar of galaxy as long as i live!! (so maybe some good has come of it)

AS for printing it on - it is just wrong on so many levels

friend of rachel worth

Mark Thornton said...

Ooh. Nail varnish and eucalyptus oil. I shall write that down in my 'big book of bookselling secrets' that I am writing here at MB...thanks very much

San said...

No, no! Not nail varnish! Nail varnish REMOVER! With acetone!

Here's a tip for second hand books that smell musty (or of cigarette smoke :oX ): put the book on top of some kitty litter in an airtight box. Leave it for at least 48 hours and the kitty litter will absorb the smell.

Mark Thornton said...

Thanks San - I was about to make a hideous mistake, particularly with the cheap nail varnish I rushed out and bought from Claire's Accessories (figuring *that* would have the acetone in it). Presumably the remover would have removed that as well?

Presumably the sealed box / kitty litter approach is only worth it if the second hand book is a limited edition signed copy that you are hoping to sell on for many tens of pounds profit, rather than a mass-market paperback which cost you 1p + postage...

San said...

>>Presumably the remover would have removed that as well?

Probably, but still: why make it harder? :oP

>>Presumably the sealed box / kitty litter approach is only worth it if the second hand book is a limited edition signed copy that you are hoping to sell on for many tens of pounds profit, rather than a mass-market paperback which cost you 1p + postage...

If it's a mass-market paperback which cost me 1p + postage and I gag every time I open it, I'll gladly use the kitty litter approach so I can actually read it without choking.

Mark Thornton said...

Mmm. Yes, I guess I was thinking from a bookshop service perspective. Ordering the book, checking for obnoxious fumes, going out and buying the kitty litter (Ihave no cat), etc.

If you have a cat and it's your own book. No problem!