Craig Mod aims to please. And, boy, does he succeed because Craig Mod is sharp. I shouldn't have to point out his perfectly tailored suit complete with perfectly cocked pocket square for you to see how it's true. The man is good looking and appears thoughtful and easy-going in public, which subsequently makes him charming. The reason why I say all this is because of a lecture I heard on Sunday while attending the Student Media Bootcamp. A marketing professor came to speak to me and other members of student publications. He sat on the edge of his chair with his arms crossed and his back leaned against the chair's back. He was all skepticism and honesty. He wanted to speak to us up front. He said one phrase in particular that seemed to electrify the room: "brand advocate." He was talking about the people who get people to go to events, to buy into stuff, the people who have tons of friends on Facebook, who are well known and who people listen to. He encouraged us to spread news of what our publications were doing around to our popular friends for this very reason.
Craig Mod is one of these people. He's charismatic. Understated. Everybody in the room became pro-whatever-he-was-about-to-say (because it wasn't completely clear) when he started off his lecture with the story about sitting on a rooftop in an Asian country I can't remember, pulling out an obscure book he'd brought on the trip and being pleased and shocked when he saw the woman sitting with him pull out the same book. This rooftop experience was a bonding one for him. And immediately after he told this story, I'm willing to believe every person in the room, man as well as woman, wished that they had been the one to pull out the same book while sitting alone on a rooftop with him. Craig Mod is advertising nostalgia. Craig Mod is advertising uniqueness. Craig Mod is advertising simplicity.
And it's good. These are good products and he advertises them well. But I just want to point out that this is only one approach to what's possible with e-books. I'm not saying that we should be taking them in different directions. I just wanted to make note of what the market, what consumer taste looks like at this point in time. People are beginning to accept the book as now having a digital component but they're doing so hesitantly. The producers' focus on nostalgia and simplicity is smart. I wrote about Mod's "Platforming Books" article last week. This week I just wanted to look at what was being marketed because, whereas before when we were just consumers, this class is making us producers as well.