Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Never Judge A Book By Its Movie

I've long been a fan of Josh Christie's blog Brews & Books and it's slogan "Read Great Books - Drink Great Beer."

Christie, an under 30 independent bookseller from Maine, combines a passion for books and beer in an endlessly delightful way.

In the same manner that your favourite passionate bookseller can often suggest new "undiscovered" reading pleasures that you never suspected when you walked through the front door, Christie does via his blog -- but he also mixes it up with a "sampling" of independent brews.

And, anybody who knows me knows that beer and books are two of my favourite things (whoops, had to catch myself there -- I almost broke into a Julie Andrews style song and dance)

My favourite posts, of course, are ones that combine the two pleasures. (Like this one about beers named after books and authors)

A recent post on his blog featured literary t-shirts, which featured a Kindle-like image with the text "I am not a Book" and the accompanying classic Nixon guesture, which seems to be available in two different styles from both Zazzle and BustedTees, made me think about the combination of 24 packs of beer and t-shirts.

I love supporting independent booksellers. I also love supporting independent breweries.
So why haven't the two worked together on marketing campaigns? For example, I love Moosehead beer, from Canada's oldest independent brewery. I'll buy Moosehead regardless, but when they add t-shirts into a 24 pack, I'm eagerly trying to collect them all because I love showing off my support of a brand I feel proud to be a consumer of.

The most recent Moosehead t-shirt program is awesome (Moosehead and Roots seem to have joined forces again for this) -- I'm wearing a shirt from a recently purchased pack right now, and this weekend will be getting another one (I'm really hoping to score the grey or black one this time)

But here's where I think beer and books could get interesting.

Why not have an independent Canadian brewery offer literary t-shirts, or t-shirts from an independent Canadian publisher? Imagine the really cool "Fiery First Fiction" promotion run by Literary Press Group a couple of springs ago morphed into a t-shirt offer in a case of Moosehead. Or perhaps instead of just featuring single titles, the t-shirts feature branding from one or more of the over 60 different small Canadian press publishers that LPG represents.

Or maybe there could be some sort of regional combination -- ie, independent Toronto brewer Steamwhistle joins forces with Toronto's Dundurn Press to feature one or more of their regional themed titles or perhaps regional mystery series.

Similarly, why not have some regional breweries join forces with independent local booksellers to create "collector" t-shirts? I'm imaginging perhaps Words Worth Books in Kitchener joining forces with Brick Brewing Co. Ltd. When you buy a case from Brick this summer, you get a "Words Worth" branded t-shirt along with a promo card put together by the local bookseller suggesting some great summer reads.

I think these types of cross-promotional partnerships could be interesting, and allow me to wear a really cool selection of literary t-shirts, showing my support of the Canadian brewers and book industry at the same time.

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