Has the Internet killed the fiction market? Probably not, but in the UK, one major bookseller is experimenting with a new type of advertising.
Due to the scandalous cost of travel by our heavily subsidised "private" railway companies, I don't travel into Central London anything like as often as I used to, but on my last visit, as I left the station, a young woman held out what looked like a small booklet to me. I glanced at the title, The Litigators, then put it in my pocket intending to read it on the journey home. I assumed from the title that it was some sort of promotional material for a law firm or firms, perhaps offering to pursue a PPI claim. When however I looked at it, I realised that it was anything but.
The Litigators is the title of a new novel by the American author John Grisham. I recognised the name, but that is all. Apart from the tabloid press and a book by David Ray Griffin, I haven't read any fiction for years. The booklet I was handed outside the station was 28 pages (the first 3 chapters) of said novel, which is said to be out in hardback, ebook and audio on November 6, but can be pre-ordered from Waterstones now.
It remains to be seen if handing out hundreds or possibly thousands of booklets containing sample chapters to commuters and other travellers is a cost effective form of promotion, even for an established author, but sweet manufacturers and other companies have used and continue to use similar promotions, so it may be something you will see more of in future, if like me you live in a great metropolis.