Great Idea Friday: Books on Lamp Posts

There's something iconic in literature about the lamp post. Think Narnia. Or Shadow of the Wind. Or any number of mystery novels with detectives (or bad guys) cloaked in fog and silhouetted by a single lamp post on a dark night.

Some clever author out there is capitalizing on this reputation, posting pages of a new mystery novel across the East Village on lamp posts. Though interviewees in a recent New York Post article on the lamp post book argue that this is an inefficient way to read a book, the marketer in me sees a kind of genius here: get them hooked with randomly placed pages, and then draw them into the book as a whole. It's guerrilla marketing to the core. It's kind of fun.

It's a small-scale effort, but I'm curious if anyone else has seen or heard about this. Things like this do make me miss the "only-in-NYC" nature of that city.


  1. Haha that is a pretty fantastic idea to market your book.

  2. I was so disappointed to read some of the novel (you know, about a paragraph) in a photo and find that...i'm pretty ehh about the writing. But I love the idea of this sort of writing, way more than that shelley jackson thing with writing a story and then tattooing just one word from it on however many people and only giving them the full story. (that was a few years ago? also, what an awkward sentence i just wrote.) this is so much better because people can, you know, actually READ the work, and i love the idea of happening across it on the way to work or something and then being able to go on a treasure hunt to find the other pages.

    when i read this it reminded me of how here in macedonia, when someone dies, notices are plastered up on all the light posts--"SAD NEWS." i don't see this where i live because it's an albanian town, but i still like the idea of using public places to announce news or, in the case of this novel, to share stories. we should do more of this.

    -- ellen

  3. Though I don't know how effective such marketing may be, I have to admit that the idea is nice. There's a cozy lamp-post association... furthering this by dropping book "clues" to lead readers to your novel is a rather charming idea.

  4. Red - It is pretty clever, isn't it?

    Ellen - I hadn't heard about the tattoo book, but you're right, that seems... like overkill. I like that the lamp posts are public and can be read by anyone. It's like a scavenger hunt for books. Although many people think reading is a solitary activity, I'd argue that it really is a public one; this is a fun way to represent that.

    Bibliobio - Definitely not the most effective (especially as paper comes off lamp posts easily by grabbing hands and/or weather elements). I liked the lamp post association, too. They really are iconic in mystery novels. Can't you just see someone leaning against the page of the book, smoking a pipe under the light?


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