“When we got our advanced reading copy of A Very Minor Prophet at Howl’s Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, we were immediately struck by its marketing appeal to local hipsters. For one thing, the cover has a bird on it,” says bookseller Marshall Daniels, “and the inside flap mentions PBR. We didn’t even need to read the book to know what it was about. It has the same target marketing appeal as chick lit, only it’s not. It’s hipster lit.”
Howl’s is excited to bring Frost to its downtown location April 11th to read from his work and display the book’s illustrations, which feature young men and women wearing thrift store clothing, riding tall bicycles and hula hooping. Howl’s has a unique plan to bring hipsters in the door.
“We’re going to leave a trail of Voodoo Doughnut crumbs starting at the doors of Literary Arts, past the Tender Loving Empire vinyl shop, past the Independent Publishing Resource Center and Reading Frenzy, then next to the Zoobomber Stack before leading them to the front door of Howl’s,” says bookseller Smith Alexis. “Is our marketing plan too heavy-handed? We don’t think so; hipsters are sure to appreciate the irony. Our only worry is what to do once the hipsters arrive at Howl’s front doors.”
“Hipsters can be stiff and difficult to move, especially in those skinny jeans,” says Howl’s event marketer Kevin Sellsome. “There’s a lot of standing around and saying, ‘I like Neutral Milk Hotel,’ and ‘Yeah, me too.’”
Howl’s plans to lure hipsters into the store with the smell of Stumptown Coffee, then place café tables around the reading room with laptops on them. Hipsters will be able to update their musical, artistic, and literary likes throughout the event.
“Our hope is for hipsters to attend and buy the book,” says Mr. Sellsome, “but we can’t expect them to listen to the reading.”
“And that’s the thing we like the best about A Very Minor Prophet. Someone has finally dared to write a novel that’s simply about product placement. It’s a book completely and utterly without a message.