Most of us in the biomedical sciences will be familiar with the term coined “reverse genetics-” namely the use of DNA sequences to understand the function of a gene by testing for phenotypes. But how about “reverse shoplifting?!”
I recently attended an author showcase (where my own Lab Lit novels, Matter Over Mind and Welcome Home, Sir were prominently featured–and it’s never to late to get a copy in tree or e-reader form! Great holiday gift for your favorite post-doc, student or PI!). But aside from my self-promotion here, I also picked up some rather quirky stories. For example, one about an author who promotes books by “reverse shoplifting.” Also known as “shopdropping.”
Well, although familiar with reverse genetics, I had not heard of this new technology–which may or may not be legal. So what is it?
Reverse shoplifting consists of a technique by which an author walks into a bookstore with several of his/her own published books, and comes out of the store without them. Why? Here’s the idea: the author places his/her books facing outwards at eye level in the shelves where the books would be showcased–if the book store carried them. The rationale is that eventually customers will pick up the books and decide to buy them.
Imagine the embarrassment:
-Sorry sir, it’s odd, but we don’t carry that novel! I just scanned it and don’t see it in the system.
-Well, could you just do it manually? It’s here in the store, and I’d like to buy it.
-Uhh, let me call my manager. I’m not sure what to do. Maybe we can call the publisher.
-Ok, but be quick, I want to buy this and go read.
I’ve also recently heard of another dubious marketing practice–placing business cards promoting novels in between the pages of best-sellers in the same genre!
There’s no end to the ingenuity of marketing.