March 6, 2009

Literary Schwag


I put this idea in a comment over in Diana's blog, but I'm still thinking about literary schwag.

Just the extra stuff, like stickers, t-shirts, posters and the array of knick-knack-ery that goes with entertainment celebrity.

If it comes right down to it, band t-shirts are kind of strange, just advertisements that this person does, indeed like that particular band. I've got a few, you've got a few. Movies got the same thing going for them. Sports teams, too. Everything that has some kind of allegiance has a whole stack of purchasable accessories to it, but it seems literature doesn't.

Yeah, you can get stuff from that Unemployed Philosopher's Guild and that other gift store like that, which I can't seem to think of right now. But that's just limited to public domain people like Shakespeare and Austin and Whitman. Where's my T.C. Boyle plush doll? Where's my licensed "I Pray for Owen Meany" poster? Or my "I save lives" quoting Georgie from Emergency shirt? And there's plenty more clever things that could be done, like maybe a 26 different heads speaking to each other in a chain and on the back it says, The Way We Live Now - Susan Sontag.

I know licensing could be a bitch, getting prickly authors and publishing housing which are bottoming out to sign on for this kind of thing...hell, do book contracts even cover merchandising rights?.... and maybe I'm the only person out there who would wear literary stuff like that, but I don't think so. There's a whole vast world of merchandise out there that hasn't been sufficiently mined.

viva literary capitalism

1 comment:

Philly Baby said...

I'd market official 'Tobias Wolf's 'Hunters in the Snow' pancake syrup, a "The Things They Carried" knapsack complete with a bag of Lavender's special dope, a black memory box with "The Lottery" emblazoned on top, a wide aray of prosthetic limbs from my Flannery O'Connor 'Good Country People' line, Thom Jones signiture boxing gloves, and a flower delivery service named Roses for Emily's, which won't be known for fast or direct shipping, but eventually they'll get there.