I'm sure you've noticed over the last couple of weeks that many of the stars in the knitblogging universe are writing about their experiences with the new book, Fix Knit by Interweave Press. Author Lisa Kartus has been traveling the virtual world on a blogging book tour to introduce her work.
Being a marketer, I was intrigued by the this novel form of advertising. It wasn't the obvious tile ad on the sidebar. It was stuck right in the heart of the writing. Crazy Aunt Purl and Grumperina gave us Q&A, both in their own distinctive voices and personalities. Wendy of Knit and Tonic told us a story.
I will admit, when I first encountered Lisa's blog tour,I initially felt a bit put-off. It felt contrived, and as a result my guard went up. The day before Wendy's post, she told us that she'd recently gotten the book and learned that you don't count the loops on the needle as a row. I never knew that, and based on that one bit of info, I considered buying the book. The next day, when I realized she was part of the book/blog tour, I felt differently. Maybe she was just trying to sell me the book, now I wasn't so sure. Did the blog tour participants receive a free copy of the book? Would they have purchased the book on their own? Were their recommendations genuine?
For me, it is always a little unsettling when advertising sneaks its way into my world. Obviously, I know it's always there, but its like when you see a big PEPSI billboard in the middle of a great movie - for a moment you are pulled away from the pure enjoyment of the art form to think about who is profiting.
At the same time I was pondering all this, I happened upon BrooklynTweed and admired his post on the EZ seamless hybrid sweater. His photos are gorgeous, his knitting is exquisite. In this post he links directly to the Amazon page for Knitting Without Tears. In a rush of admiration, desire, and realization that this classic book should be in my knitting library, I clicked and purchased. No Q&A, no stories, nothing other than a real photo and a post by a knitter I admire. A marketer's dream, to be sure, but I'm fairly certain that BrooklynTweed is receiving no compensation from either Amazon or the Zimmerman estate.
I read blogs to enjoy the unique personalities of all the writers, to see lovely photos of real knitting, and to learn about real people. And a big draw is the opportunity to learn from other knitters. If I want to shop there are plenty of sites to visit, but if I want to enjoy the company of a world of knitters, and maybe learn a thing or two along the way, I read blogs.
I understand the Knit Fix book tour. The next time I see Lisa Kartus' work at my LYS, I'll pick it up to see if it's really something I could use. Maybe that was Lisa's goal all along, but I'm still not sure how I feel about the approach. Am I being too cynical? Am I giving this too much thought? What do you think?