Is "fancy marketing" the antidote to boosting the book market?

【Cultural Analysis】

  E-commerce platforms take advantage of the boom in the tide play market to launch "blind book boxes"; publishers either go out in person, or use Internet celebrities and big Vs to carry out live broadcasts and bring goods. Some recent "fancy marketing" in the publishing industry is attractive. pay attention to.

In this regard, some people praised it as a breakthrough innovation in the industry, while others criticized it as drinking poison to quench thirst.

  In fact, the "fancy marketing" of books has long been practiced in the history of Chinese and foreign publishing, and the influence of some of these practices has even continued to this day.

For example, the "10% off" book appeared in the Shanghai publishing industry before (the actual price of the book is 10% off the list price and then 80% off), the Penguin Publishing Company printed small-sized easy-to-carry paperback books to attract purchases, etc. .

However, the "fancy marketing" of books that are emerging one after another is more of a reflection of the structural pain points of China's publishing industry, and it also reflects the changes in the overall development environment of the publishing industry.

  Since the reform and opening up, China's publishing industry has developed rapidly.

Since the end of the 20th century, especially after the popularity of the Internet and mobile reading, the publishing industry has experienced slowing growth, rising product prices, rising inventory and return rates, declining profits, and repeated crises in the industry's credit system.

  From the perspective of the general environment faced by the publishing industry, on the one hand, the public's attention is being competed by various online audio-visual content products, the public's content consumption preferences are changing, and the development of the publishing industry is also showing a certain audio-visual trend; on the other hand, The reading environment is changing, the ways, channels and platforms of public reading are becoming more and more diversified, and even the concept of "reading" itself has been reconstructed.

With the update and iteration of media forms, reading has extended from printed media such as books, newspapers and periodicals to various electronic screens, and the reading objects have also expanded from printed text to multimedia information.

Publishers must not only face competition within the industry, but also challenges from alternatives to cultural consumption in other industries.

  It is in the above context that the "fancy marketing" model was introduced into the publishing industry.

Compared with the statement of passive transformation, the author is more inclined to understand it as an active exploration of the publishing industry to deal with the renewal of the consumption environment.

As far as its positive impact is concerned, the "fancy marketing" of books has injected new elements into consumers' book buying experience, shortened the distance between books and the public, and has certain implications for the publishing industry to get rid of difficulties in market distribution and achieve high-quality development. realistic meaning.

  However, cultural products such as books have the characteristics of separation of purchase and reading, and the shopping experience does not equal the reading experience.

If consumers participate in the purchase of "blind book boxes", they only buy but do not read or find that they are not needed after buying, which will affect their brand recognition of publishing institutions and sales entities to a certain extent.

This inductive sales model may have a certain effect in a short time, but its long-term negative impact cannot be ignored.

  Taking e-commerce live book sales as an example, the characteristics of live e-commerce, such as strong interaction, wide platform, and small time and space constraints, can help alleviate the problem of information asymmetry between book supply and demand sides.

If the publisher has a clear theme plan, it is not a bad idea to use the live broadcast marketing series of theme books, or use the theme books to broadcast knowledge.

If the live broadcast breaks the industry price bottom line and sells books at a low price, it will essentially constitute a vicious competition and will disrupt the normal publishing market order.

  From this point of view, if the "fancy marketing" of books cannot respond to the real needs of consumers, the practical effect and value of such market models as blind boxes and live broadcasts will be questioned.

More importantly, people's psychological price for books is not high at present, and those "fancy marketing" that deviate from the core reading function of books will inevitably degrade or even destroy the image of books as a cultural product in the minds of consumers. It is not conducive to the high-quality development of the publishing industry.

How does the publishing industry do a good job in product development and promotion and market model innovation?

The following points are worth emphasizing.

  One is to maintain the publishing value chain by consolidating and reshaping the scarcity of publishing products.

Some of the current difficulties encountered by the publishing industry are not only due to the problems of product sales methods and market prices, but also how to consolidate and reconstruct the scarcity of products.

As far as the three major sectors of the publishing industry are concerned, a considerable number of mass publications that simply meet the needs of entertainment cannot compete with various new media entertainment products in terms of content and user experience; while the demand for educational publications and professional publications is relatively elastic in price. Weak, there is more rigid demand for products in these two sectors.

Therefore, the author believes that in the transformation and development of the publishing industry, the tendency of entertainment should not be too prominent, and the core of the product should be built with heart, that is, insisting on "content is king" and paying full attention to user content consumption preferences.

  Second, in social marketing and public communication, choose a variety of ways and platforms for integration, and rationally carry out market model innovation.

The publishing industry should be proactive and rational when it comes to market model innovation.

In general, it is not appropriate to simply apply the "blind box economy" or live broadcast mode, but to make specific analysis of the specific conditions of different types of books.

  Third, continue to respond to user needs and build reader trust.

Products and marketing methods that are not recognized by users will eventually be eliminated by the market.

For products such as books that are separated from purchase and use, the publishing industry must pay attention to tracking value-added services and interactive experiences during their use, so as to truly approach the hearts of readers and maintain the image of book products from the perspective of users’ psychological cognition .

(Author: Wu Yun, Director of the Department of Journalism and Communication, Zhejiang University, Deputy Director of the Center for Media and Cultural Industry Research, Zhejiang University)