Joanne Harris' Secret Chapters: Is Waterstones Changing The Book Game?
Waterstones are offering exclusive chapters of Joanne Harris' new book, Peaches.
Wondering why your friend's copy of Joanne's Harris' Peaches For Monsieur le Cure is longer than yours? Well, he or she clearly made the wise decision to buy it from Waterstones, who signed an exclusive deal with the author to include one extra chapter not included in copies sold elsewhere. The chapter can be read either as an epilogue or as "the prologue to an as-yet-unwritten story," according to Harris.
Peaches is the follow-up to the author's best-selling novel Chocolat, which Waterstones hopes will fly off its shelves owing to the exclusive material. Whether readers will eschew cheap deals on Amazon and other web retailers remains to be seen. The promotion is one of several marketing tactics currently being used in the literature business, though the savvy minds behind such campaigns appear to be stuck with "bonus material." Foyles recently sold copies of Alexander McCall Smith's novel Trains and Lovers with a small booklet containing an extra short story by the author.
"Of course these things are viable options," said Tom Tivnan, features editor at The Bookseller, "All bookshops are having to innovate and do special things to survive. It's part of the whole package of how to reform themselves. They have to work out what things they can do that online retailers can't. There's also things like membership clubs, coffee shops, crèches and speaking groups."
A similar marketing campaign was used in the promotion of Claire Tomlinson's biography of Charles Dickens, which included a map of London and some extra material only available in Waterstones. The book business is still in jeopardy of losing out to web retailers and more than 400 shops closed in 2012, seven times more than the year before. There are now less than 2,000 bookshops in the UK.
The industry appears to be relying on big hitters such as Hilary Mantel, whose novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies both won Booker Prizes whilst selling considerable amounts.
HIlary Mantel's Wolf Hall Gave Hope To The Book Industry