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.

11 thoughts on “Storm in a symbol over Brown/Kernick Deadline

  1. I would never get upset at any of your posts Maxine.
    I am surprised considering the sales of previous Dan Brown books that W.H. Smith think it necessary to give away a book to get people to pre-order.

  2. Ah…well that puts another complexion on the matter entirely. Not the impression I’d gleaned at all.

  3. I picked up the book in Smiths as a recent convert, and I may have been a bit dense but it did take me a while to work out what was going´on with it. But you are right, all a bit of a storm in a teacup and hopefully, ultimately, Dan Brown fans might pick up a Simon Kernick for the first time and start to realise just how much mystery writing there is out there that is superior to Mr Brown’s – ie almost all of it.

  4. “… 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..”
    This was exactly what I thought when I noticed one of these posts yesterday! LOL
    You are not upsetting me, but what about all the poor Dan Brown fans out there?

  5. Oh, Dorte, if there are any they keep themselves very quiet! I have yet to encounter anyone who admits to that!
    I would never wish to upset you, Norman. Or anyone. But out there on the internet, there are people roaming around looking to be offended and looking for excuses to lie and attack innocent people, would you believe? I’ve experienced it myself and it is not pleasant.

  6. This particular storm in the blogosphere had completely escaped my notice but now that you’ve pointed it out I have to agree with you…so what? I fail to see what’s insulting or offensive to readers. The only person who could be a little insulted is Mr Brown and I’m sure rolling about in piles of $100bills will soften the blow (and buy a good therapist).
    You’re right…people these days seem to be going out of their way to be offended so they can get indignant about it.
    On your other issue…dare I admit that I quite liked Angels and Demons? I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a fan of Dan Brown but I have read 3 of his books and A&D entertained me while I was reading it.

  7. Maxine, I think yours may be the single most sensible blog post I have read about the whole thing. So many people jumped up and started shouting about nasty publishing tricks and yadda, yadda, yadda, that it was, for a while, difficult to really see what had happened.
    I suspect a number of bloggers were left with egg on their faces after it became clear that it was a promotional stunt and Kernick had given permission for the cover to be printed as it was.

  8. This is the first time that I am hearing about this situation. But like other said I as a reader would be upset to get a free book from purchasing a book that I was going to read in the first place.
    It is like a buy one get one free deal. Expect this time the publisher picks the second book and promotes its own authors.

  9. I haven’t read all the comments so I apologise if my owncomments are misguided in any way.
    What is important is that I PURCHASED Deadline from Smiths, on the basis that it was Dan Brown’s new book.
    The cover was the promotional cover spoken about above. However it was not offered as any part of a promotion, nor was it bought as one.
    I cannot see how there would be so much forore if the situation was as above – a book given free purporting to be a book that you were eventually going to recieve. I do not believe my situation to be an individual occurance.
    It is false advertising and I feel utterly deceived. The deception is on a scale normally associated with the culmination of a Dan Brown plot itself.
    I paid for it. I thought, justifiably it was a Dan Brown novel. It is not. I would like my money back, please.

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