December 10, 2014

What kind of garbage should we sell you directly through Twitter?


This photo of your mailbox was sent to us from the future.

This actual photo of your mailbox was sent to us from the future.

Hachette Book Group is selling three titles directly through its authors’ Twitter accounts. The trial run includes three authors with substantial fan bases: astronaut Chris Hadfield, singer Amanda Palmer, and, of course, The Onion. Books sold through Twitter include additional materials, like a note from the author, a signed photo (from space!), or notecards that feature The Onion‘s previous covers.

The majority of web traffic for many sites is social media, so it’s no surprise that publishers are eager to forgo links and sell directly from users’ Twitter streams. New buy buttons have worked for some musicians, who sell merch and albums directly through their Twitter accounts. A company called Gumroad is working with Hachette to offer titles directly to consumers.

Melville House isn’t selling books through Twitter yet (and we don’t have any cool photos signed by astronauts to offer at the moment), but if we start selling to you directly, what kind of nonsense should we bundle with your purchases?

We’ll sell you books, sure. But let’s pair some hot titles with tempting extras:

1. Ginger nuts + Bartleby the Scrivener. Sure Bartleby’s junk food of choice is gross, but it’s flavored with real ginger powder. You can’t put a price on historical accuracy.

2. Pencils, sold and sharpened by David Rees + How to Sharpen Pencils. You still seem confused by his patient instructions, no matter how many times you watch his tutorials.

3. Spare parts for your Volkswagen Beetle + Christopher Boucher‘s debut novel. (Though in case of emergency surgery, it would be smart to keep some duct tape in your trunk.)

4. Authentic New York pizza boxes, hand-selected by Scott Wiener + Viva La Pizza. Grease smudges may be included.

5. Junk mail to remind you of overdue tax forms and the crushing, life-long pressure of student loans + The Utopia of Rules or Debt by David Graeber. From our mailbox to yours!

Yeah, OK, most of these items are literal garbage. But they’ll add a personal touch to an otherwise impersonal purchase, which we lovingly pack and ship from our office. Enticed yet?


Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.