Monday, September 3, 2012

Bye Bye Bookmarks!

L.J. Sellers is an award-winning journalist and the author of the bestselling Detective Jackson mystery/suspense series: The Sex Club, Secrets to Die For, Thrilled to Death, Passions of the Dead, Dying for Justice, Liars, Cheaters & Thieves, and Rules of Crime. Her novels have been highly praised by Mystery Scene, Crimespree, and RT Reviews, and the series is a Kindle bestseller. L.J. also has three standalone thrillers: The Baby Thief, The Gauntlet Assassin, and The Suicide Effect. When not plotting murders, she enjoys performing standup comedy, cycling, social networking, and attending mystery conferences. She’s also been known to jump out of airplanes. Welcome to Book Blather, L.J.

This summer I gave away my last stack of bookmarks at an art fair. When I got home, I wrote on my to-do list: Order more bookmarks? The question indicates just how much this industry has changed. Last year, having bookmarks seemed essential. I would have never let myself even run low, let alone run out completely. Yet now, I’m not sure I should spend money to buy more.

Besides the two local book events I attend each year—Art & the Vineyard (July) and Holiday Market (Dec.)—where else can I give them away?
I used to send them out with books I mailed—review copies, contest winners, gifts—but I don’t do much of that anymore. I sell mostly ebooks, and my readers typically want digital files as review copies and gifts. Not all readers, I know, but many. And the people still reading print books probably have more bookmarks than they’ll ever use.

I also send out fewer print books with every new release. When I published Liars, Cheaters & Thieves, I only sent seven review copies in print. Two years ago, I would have sent thirty. But I no longer waste money mailing books to organizations that have never reviewed my work. I used to think it was worth the cost of the book and postage. Now I don’t. Most of my regular reviewers want digital copies instead.

And I used to drop off bookmarks at our Borders store every two weeks, but we all know what happened to that.

I gave up most book signings long ago, so I don’t need bookmarks for them. I still take a few bookmarks to conferences and leave them on the crowded tables with everyone elses, but would it make any difference if I didn’t? Probably not. My name is in the brochure, and I’m usually on a panel or two, so readers hear about me. Those bookmarks probably get tossed in the recycling at the end of the convention…along with dozens of others (and postcards, flyers, etc.). Readers and writers seem happy to take my business card though.

So, will I print more? Maybe a hundred, in case I do World Book Night in April and give away a bunch of copies of The Sex Club…with a bookmark. Wouldn’t that be fun? After that, who knows? Maybe I’ll be done with them.
Another publishing staple on its way to becoming obsolete.
Does it make you a little sad? Or have you embraced the all-digital future?  

Contact L.J. at:


  1. Thanks for hosting me. I was cleaning this weekend and found a few bookmarks in my book boxes, so I guess I don't have to order any. Happy Labor Day!

  2. You're welcome, L.J. I have a few bookmarks hanging around from my first book as well. It's a whole new (digital) world!

  3. Timely post for me. I'm about to order more bookmarks, but will probably order half of what I used to. My bookmarks multi-task, acting as both business cards and a listing of all my books/series in order. I find people still want them. At book fairs they are a nice take away that hopefully readers who did not buy a book will look at later - when they are buying books online. We are definitely changing the way we market.