Each year around august/september, the ‘Uitmarkt’ in Amsterdam opens the new cultural season. Theaters announce their programs, museums showcase their exhibitions and publishers – well publishers you would think would advertise their hot new releases of the coming year.
Unfortunately, what most Dutch publishers show at the Book Market, is mostly their old wares. They offer numerous discount copies of ‘slightly damaged’ back catalogue but hardly any new books. And if you are looking for new media reading (think e-books, apps), you’d be thoroughly disappointed.
Museums have embraced new media possibilities. They offer digital tours and enhanced experiences by means of apps. They have firmly planted themselves in the digital age that is the 21st century. Traditional publishers on the other hand, seem to hold on tightly to the printed book and the old proven marketing. I found no creative marketing ploy at the entire Book Market. Instead, they had the trusty wheel of fortune discount game and the signing booths with bored authors who you’d only recognise by the pictures they had so thoughtfully provided.
I believe it’s a missed opportunity. Showcase your new material, show the other media that you offer. Shout out the audiobooks, flash those e-books. Explore new possibilities. It might draw a much wider public to the Book Market and consequently to reading.
Oh, and please, price those e-books sensibly. In the Netherlands, you are likely to pay as much for an e-book version as for the paper one. Not only is that unfair, it is likely to encourage illegal downloads.