Marketing partnership between new teen novel and cosmetic company draws attention, book creates new interactive experience
“’Cathy’s Book...’ is just the kind of project that sets Running Press’ upstart [young adult] publishing program apart from the pack,” said Jon Anderson, publisher of Running Press, in the same release. “This highly designed, heavily illustrated, interactive and hip project is just the kind of publishing we like to do. And [Proctor and Gamble’s] unique support will allow more readers to find the book and makes the story even more believable for its audience.”
Running Press and Cover Girl instantly drew fire from nonprofit Portland, Ore.-based advertising watchdog group’s Commercial Alert. According to the group’s Web site, its mission is, “to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy.”
On the same day The New York Times article ran, the group sent a letter to 305 book reviewers across the country asking them to refrain from reviewing the title.
“There is a difference between a novel and an ad; and if you do not uphold that distinction, then who will?” Commercial Alert asked its letter recipients.
In a statement issued by Perseus the next day, Steinberger responded to the group’s campaign against the book.
“Commercial Alert’s action is troubling,” he said. “As a publisher in a free society, we feel that it is inappropriate to discourage people from reading, discussing or reviewing a book. Calling for a review boycott is a form of censorship. Cathy’s Book is a terrific cutting-edge [Young Adult] novel that deserves to be read and judged on its own merits.”
The book is scheduled for an October release.
Steinberger told Book Business Extra! this week that the novel, and the interactive portion of it that will feature other Web sites and phone messages, is a means of getting teens excited about reading.