Storm in a symbol over Brown/Kernick Deadline

I know that the blogosphere exists so that people who are het up about something can vent vigorously and in public; receive unprocessed comments of agreement from their buddies; with the result that all concerned feel vindicated in their little bubbles of mutual ignorance. You just have to learn to avoid this stuff if possible, or if not, to let it wash over you. Even so, I think that some of the posts I've seen about this Dan Brown/Simon Kernick deal, even by experienced bloggers, are just silly. (Here is an example.) In at least one post expressing outrage about possible customer misunderstanding, the wrong Simon Kernick title has been cited – a mistake that can be interpreted in various ways.

When I first heard about this marketing campaign, I thought from the headline of the article that it was a bit rich. However, having actually read beyond the title, it is clear that what is going on is this: W. H. Smith is running a promotion in which if you pre-order Dan Brown's next novel, you get a free copy of one of Simon Kernick's books, called Deadline. For this purpose only, the free copy has a cover with both Brown's and Kernick's names on it, in big letters. You can't buy this book, you are only given it if you pre-order Brown. You are told via one of W. H. Smiths usual flyers for this purpose that if you pre-order Brown, this is what you are going to get as your reward.

If you happen to be browsing the shelves at W. H. Smith in blissful ignorance of all this, you might stumble across Deadline by Simon Kernick, but it would have the usual cover – no mention of Dan Brown anywhere.

So what's the big deal? Simon Kernick is happy because his back-list sales have gone up. Readers are happy because they have been given a 'free' copy of a book that is probably more enjoyable than the one they have paid for and ordered, when they get it (the Dan Brown). The publishers and W. H. Smith are certainly happy, not least by all the extra publicity which will probably lead more people to take up the deal (even if only to invest in a limited collectors' edition of Deadline!).

Oh well, if bloggers didn't get upset about this, they would find something else to upset themselves over, I suppose. Quite possibly this post.