Put a Little Swag In Your Step (2019 edition)
Swag: Promotional materials sent by a publisher or book creator, publicizing a book’s release. May involve both practical and impractical components.
Swag [Informal]: Weird stuff you get in the mail to varying degrees of disgust, amusement, and delight.
It’s swag time, people! Ever since I became a children’s librarian, I’ve been fascinated by this particular aspect of book marketing and publicity. Most books do not get any promotional swag. Those that do often seem like completely random titles. Why this title but not this one? The ways of publicity are vast and mysterious, that’s for sure.
This year, I decided to meticulously keep track of every little bit of swag that came my way. Here is a full accounting of what I have found, broken down by category. Perhaps it will be of use or interest to anyone who wishes to start delving into swag of their own:
No swag is quite as enticing as edible swag. Granted, once you’ve eaten the item you’ve forgotten about the book, but on hungry work days, they are well and truly welcome.
I CAN USE THIS!
The only thing better than edible swag is swag that you can actually use. For example, years ago some genius decided to give away wooden spoons to celebrate Toni Morrison’s picture book Peeny Butter Fudge. The book came and went, but I think of it every time I use that spoon.
NOT USEFUL, BUT CERTAINLY MEMORABLE
When it doubt, grab attention above all else. Bonus points if you can include nose plugs.
THE SWAG SO NICE I’VE SEEN IT TWICE
This year’s duplicate swag included . . . unicorn horns. Turns out, they stay on rather well!
IT’S NOT ABOUT THE GIFTS, IT’S ABOUT THE PACKING MATERIALS
AND FINALLY, LET’S FACE IT. HANDMADE SWAG IS ALWAYS THE BEST
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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