By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing
Wow – Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has suddenly found another communications medium and has decided to let his followers on his eponymous site know about it. This will not come as a shock to those of use involved in the publishing industry in one form or another, because his medium of choice has been around for a long time.
In a new year message on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg pledged to start a book club in 2015, recommending a book to his followers every two weeks and encouraging them to discuss it on the website. Now let’s put aside the small matter of finding time to read a book every two weeks, twenty five books a year in my calculations, discussing and commenting on them in the same two week period seems a touch ambitious to me.
My kids seem to spend their whole time on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp documenting their social lives and those of their friends, so getting them to sit quietly and put their noses into a book instead of interacting with their peers seems a bit far-fetched to me.
It might be a big ask in the USA as well, given that a recent survey conducted in 2012 for the National Endowment for the Arts found that only around 55% of American adults actually read a book of any description outside of work or school. Still that is a potential market of around 128 million people for Zuckerberg to influence, and of course Amazon have been quick to jump on the bandwagon by endorsing his plans. The first book that he nominated – “The End of Power” by Moises Naim, quickly sold out of stock in the printed version.
A Year of Books – Mark Zuckerberg’s book club page on Facebook
has over a quarter million “likes”
Zuckerberg has created a community Facebook page – A Year of Books, which at the time of writing had garnered 287,772 “likes”. So any author included in the book club has got a ready-made readership waiting to take up their published work. But looking at the 320 page tome by Naim, full of economic and political analysis, those who liked Zuckerberg’s choice had better take a couple of weeks’ vacation to get the task completed!
Whatever you think of Zuckerberg’s motives, it does go to show the power of social media on our lives and the breaking down of national and social boundaries that previously ruled our lives. The fact that one individual, albeit a very famous and influential one, can start a trend that will have ramifications across the world, shows just how much the power of marketing and advertising has swung away from the traditional sources and into the hands of Internet entrepreneurs.
THE PRINTING INDUSTRY COULD NOT ASK FOR A BETTER “FRIEND”
Politicians and multi-national businesses will be two of the groups concerned about the seismic changes on their traditional communication channels. On the other hand, we in the printing industry should also be grateful that for the next twelve months we will have one of the world’s most influential people promoting a product that gives many of us our daily wages.