In August 2013, we received a batch of saucy titles to upload from publisher Accent Press in the United Kingdom. To coincide with this new import, we brainstormed ideas to promote the titles and attempted to define which customers would want to purchase them. This campaign was to be a way of reaching out to repeat customers who could carry us through the slow seasons, in between main book buying cycles.
The idea was to hand out 80 free Paperight copies of Accent Press books on UCT campus and ask students to review them for us as part of a PR stunt. As part of this, I put together a questionnaire to streamline the responses we would be getting, asking students, for example, to rate the book as an Erotic or Romantic title, rate the book on a saucy scale of 1 to 5, flag any offensive material within and more. This information would then be used to categorise the books on the website to assist other customers navigating the long list of available titles. We also wanted to ask students to write a short recommendation if they liked the book. After all, recommendations in book stores are proven to drive sales, as I learned in my 4 years working at the Bay Bookshop.
Nick designed a poster to advertise the handout on campus and the handout was scheduled for the 18th of September 2013 on Jammie Plaza.
To ensure that these books would get to students who would be interested in taking part, I contacted Jessica Tiffin of the English Literature department at UCT who runs an annual course for 3rd Years on Erotic Literature called ‘Sex: From Sappho to Cyber”. Jessica was very interested in sending details to students about how they could take part.
this campaign was shelved due to concerns about damaging our growing reputation as a distributor of educational material.
However, this campaign was shelved due to concerns about damaging our growing reputation as a distributor of educational material. At this early stage in Paperight’s lifespan, it was crucial not to alienate any potential supporters for the sake of a quick, provocative campaign. We needed to focus on building our number of repeat customers and South Africa’s predominantly conservative reading public might have taken issue with this content.