The Power of New

I got a newsletter from Signature a few days ago.  The email is round-up of books coming from Penguin Random House in May. I copied part of the page below to give you a sense of the content and design. You can click-through to see the whole page here.


The list covers a range of memoirs, thrillers and collected works. These genres are ones I don’t normally read, but if you are around books or tapped into culture though, you will certainly recognize new works from Roaxanne Gay and David Sedaris.

When I see marketing like this, it reminds me how hard book publishing is. On the full web page, there are fifteen books.  This newsletter is working hard to get attention for these writers. Notice what they are doing.

They are playing the New card. New is a kind of scarcity. These books will only be new for a few weeks. We care about them a little more during this time.  But then the next set of books becomes New.

In this example, the New lost some of its power with so many titles to choose from. All the titles paralyzed my ability to sort and select what might be interesting. I get the same feeling when I look at a menu in a restaurant and all of the dishes attract the same level of my attention.

Takeaways: When you are launching your book, use the window of New and that scarcity to attract the attention of your audience. Also, position your book away from competing titles in marketing activities and sales environments whenever possible.


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