Your client at a book festival
Readers are an upscale and surprisingly young audience
November 5, 2012
Book readers are a well-educated audience, and they're also relatively affluent, with more than half having an annual household income at $60,000 or higher.
But it's also a surprisingly young group. Last year those from Generation Y, born between 1979 and 1989, purchased more books than Baby Boomers for the first time ever.
A good place for out-of-home advertisers to reach avid book readers is book festivals, literary events where authors, publishers and readers gather to celebrate the latest in the industry.
Brands can become sponsors of book festivals or have an on-site presence such as a booth or an ad in the event's program.
To find out how to get your client at book festivals, read on.
This is one in a Media Life series on buying out-of-home venues. They appear weekly.
Advertising and sponsorship at book festivals.
The organizers of each individual book festival handle advertising and sponsorship.
How it works
The content at book festivals can vary, but the centerpiece is typically authors reading passages of their work, answering questions from readers, and signing copies of their books.
But there can be many other sponsorable areas at book festivals, such as an area focusing on children's books, sections for different genres such as history, sci-fi or graphic novels, and also areas for vendors of all types, including books and food.
Like other events and conventions, many book festivals offer different levels of sponsorship, ranging from title or presenting sponsors to in-kind sponsors, which provide a product or service in exchange for exposure at the event.
Most events also have programs that are distributed to attendees, which can include print ads. These are attractive to advertisers because festival visitors hang on to them and look at them throughout their visit.
Advertisers can also set up a booth at a book festival, where they can interact with visitors about their product or service.
There are book festivals held in every major market.
It's estimated there are 62.4 million avid book readers in the U.S.–those who read five or more hours per week–according to the publishing industry trade magazine Book Business. Avid book readers purchase more than 10 books per year on average, and 63 percent of them are women.
How it is measured
Book festivals track attendance to estimate impressions.
What product categories work well
Recent or current book festival advertisers include retail, bookstores, newspapers, local media, telecom, auto, fast food and financial.
Fifty-six percent of book festival attendees are female and 44 percent male, according to the Baltimore Book Festival.
Fourteen percent of attendees are age 18-24, 25 percent 25-34, 27 percent 35-49 and 27 percent 50-64. The remainder is either under 18 or over 64.
Also, 56 percent of attendees have an annual household income of at least $60,000.
Those who buy books are surprisingly young. Those born between 1979 and 1989 purchased 30 percent of books in 2011, according to the market research company Bowker, surpassing Boomers for the first time (Boomers purchased 25 percent of books).
Making the buy
To take full advantage of the marketing leading up to an event, organizers recommend securing sponsorships four to six months in advance.
Pricing varies based on the size of the event. For example, a main sponsor at a large event such as the National Book Festival could pay six figures, while an ad in a program at a smaller event could cost hundreds of dollars.
Who’s already been at book festivals
Recent brands that have sponsored and advertised at book festivals include Target, The Washington Post, Wells Fargo, AT&T, PBS, Barnes & Noble, LEGO, Scholastic, Chevy, Time Warner Cable, McDonald's, Burger King and Sunkist.
What they’re saying
"One thing is [people] carry the programs around with them all day long. So it's got some legs because they're going to hold onto it and refer back to it. If you feel that this is your market, it's a good matchup." – Mary Jo Ryan, communications coordinator at the Nebraska Library Commission.
Web site info
National Book Festival
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
Nebraska Book Festival
Twin Cities Book Festival
Baltimore Book Festival
Texas Book Festival
Tucson Festival of Books
Boston Book Festival
Tags: ads, advertisers, advertising at book festivals, Baltimore Book Festival, book festival advertising, book festivals, communications, Fast Facts, Mary Jo Ryan, National Book Festival, Nebraska Library Commission, OOH, ooh advertising, out of home, out of home advertising
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