Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cheap Marketing Ploy

Semi-recently I was wandering around one of my favorite hangouts in Silver Spring, the Borders next to the movie theater. When I want to hang out somewhere or go on a date but have nowhere in particular to actually go, I end up there a lot. I like being able to browse the new books in the Young Adult section, read graphic novels that I'd love to buy but can't afford, see if there are any hidden gems on the clearance rack, or sometimes just chill out with a cup of the best hot chocolate in town (that I've yet to find anyway). I usually feel pretty zen when I'm lounging around Borders.

Unless, of course, I see something that makes me want to up-end display racks and scream like a banshee, which happened on this particular day.

On this day, as I was walking down one of the aisles, I came upon a table with a collection of some of the books they were highlighting in that moment, including, I was thrilled to see, Pride and Prejudice. Except that this copy of Austen's masterpiece looked like this:

Brand new cover art that's awfully similar, you might say, to the original cover art of this little number:

Now, I get it, Twilight's in right now, and as a marketing professional, you want to capitalize on that craze any way you can. Perhaps the ends justify the means if the result is that more young women are going to give Jane Austen a look.

But that doesn't keep me from being really annoyed that Elizabeth Bennet, one of the strongest female protagonists in all of canonical literature, is being compared to Bella Swan, a spineless mopey child who decides she's nothing without her man. Elizabeth Bennet is an amazing role model for young women everywhere, and it's just wrong that someone somewhere decided P&P should be grouped in the same category as the Twilight saga for the sake of pushing a few more books.

I mean, it's a lovely flower and all, but come on.

1 comment:

B.Graham said...

Hey I mean, whatever gets the kids reading, right?

Also full disclosure, despite my intense bibliophilia as a kid, I pretty much never read books that didn't have covers that I liked. So in all seriousness, whatever gets the kids reading...