Book Retailer’s Latest Marketing Strategy is a Sign of the Times
By: Lauren M. Silverman
Since the dawn of the digital age, booksellers have struggled to keep themselves afloat. Many of them face closure if they fall behind in sales, which leads retailers to constantly update their marketing strategies.
Barnes & Noble, one of the largest remaining brick and mortar book retailers, has taken on a new strategy that seems to guarantee success: starting on April 1, 2020, it will exclusively sell fiction that deals with apocalyptic topics.
While definitely a bold move, the shift in content is expected to be a massive success. The retailer has reported that, despite the apocalypse-like conditions that 2020 has brought, sales in genres such as dystopian fiction, dark fantasy, and horror have never been higher.
In these uncertain times, customers have turned to modern end-of-the-world classics like Stephen King’s The Stand and Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games. According to sales reports, books with normally-functioning worlds are becoming increasingly unrelatable, even if they’re in a fantasy or science fiction genre.
Customers want content with which they can closely identify. So-called “realistic fiction” just isn’t cutting it.
Insider information reveals that the company was considering switching to a more positive strategy, first planning to remove books altogether and push colorful office supplies to the forefront, but there were several problems with this idea.
“We realized that people won’t need office supplies if the world’s ending,” said an anonymous bookseller.
And even if the apocalypse isn’t imminent, the company still thinks its new approach to bookselling will work out for the better.
Presumably, there will be a spike in apocalypse-related content from writers stuck in quarantine. Barnes & Noble will be partnering with these so-called “apocalypse authors” to help sell their books, benefitting all involved.
Except readers, of course, who are subject to torment via unoriginal rapture fiction.
“If the end times are here, reading dystopian, world’s-end books kinda hype it up,” said one customer. “But if it’s like, a hoax or whatever, then we can still read books about it and reminisce.”
And if it doesn’t work?
“It won’t matter,” said a bakery employee in a recent interview. “You know what they say–the end is nigh. So even if this strategy doesn’t take off, we won’t be here long enough to find out.”