Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Useless Piece of Plastic

I had this whole piece planned for today where I would write about the wonderful books that got me out of my reading slump, and how wonderful that feeling of rediscovery is…but then I somehow managed to turn off my alarm and sleep in far too late. Suddenly I was faced with the dilemma of either writing said column in my normal half-assed and rushed fashion or showering.

Showering won.

Besides y’all deserve better than half-assed and my customers deserve squeaky clean (even if some of them don’t return the favor). So instead I ask you all to once again put on your materialism hat (despite what it does to your hair, or in my case, my psyche) and consider this:

When you receive something for free (or win something as a prize), do you appreciate it more if you can use it or if it simply something you can admire?

Now apply this logic to the doodads that authors send out, and leave your thoughts below.

For me this means that pens, pencils, post-its? Good.

Eight-bazillion bookmarks? Not so good, five will do unless you are Nora Roberts.

Small foamy car which, while adorable, does not appear to do anything? On its way to the local landfill.

(Personalized wine, by the way, would fall in the good, good, hot-damn-this-is-stupendous category. Yes, it can be done, and then classified as a tax write-off for business expenses.)


Anonymous said...

In the drug world, we get lots of freebies. Sadly, no free drugs, but a plethora of pens, notepads, hand sanitizer, coffee cups, etc. At work, I make great use of the first three items, but beyond work I have no use for any of it. A first aid kit filled with a few bandaids that don't stick? A miniature clipboard? A very pretty clock advertising some drug that is associated with a not so pleasant disease?
Now if only the drug companies would discover the personalized wine... At least they have the free dinner thing down pat.
Have to say, I don't know much about book freebies besides what BSC tells me, but in general, I like free stuff I will use. And I think favorably of companies/people that don't waste their money - and thus my money when it comes to buying - on useless peices of plastic.
-The Druggie

RandomRanter said...

As unoriginal as it is, I like bookmarks, since I am alsways losing them. And you can carry it around to remind you to get the book - if you get it in advance. (Does that happen?) I think sometimes the more useless things are cute - shoe erasers, tiaras - particularly if they tie into the book in an obvious way. (Rather than book with girl = shoes.) Also I like magnets!

nir said...

I prefer things I can use. Pens and notepads are good, ugly fanny packs and tote bags advertising creams for the nether regions, not so good.

Little Willow said...

I like useful things. I'm big on useful and boo on useless. Clutter, litter, etc.

Lisa Hunter said...

I'm getting T-shirts with my book logo, to give to the bookstore people who set up my reading events. (Don't worry -- I'll also take donuts.) I was VERY lucky with my cover and got a great illustrator, so the logo is something fun that people might actually choose to wear.

But I'm not doing bookmarks, coasters, or doo-dads. I agree about practicality.

Jill James said...

Okay, so pens, pencils...good. Wine...better. Got it! LOL

Eileen said...

I loathe clutter. The doo-dads don't do much for me. Now wine- that would be a different story. It has been my experience that what people appreciate most is someone who is polite, respects their time and honestly wants to build a good working relationship. It's a wacky idea- but I'm running with it.

Diane Chamberlain said...

When you receive a doodad, useful or otherwise, does it make you take note of that author? Hand sell his or her books? I've never gone the doodad route, but certainly have author friends who have. . . and then I wonder if I'm missing the promo boat.

quiche said...

I don't feel any compulsion to push a book or CD if they send goodies. If it's good or popular (though popular doesn't need to send freebies) it will sell on its own. That said I like bookmarks because they are small, practical and people like them. We had a t-shirt promo for a CD that went nowhere--no one wanted the shirts and the CD sold modestly. I didn't care for the CD and didn't push it. I can't push stuff I feel is crap with a clear conscience, best I can do is say "it's new." Then it's up to the customer to decide. But if they sent booze or chocolates I might make an exception.