What Can Trade Book Publishers Learn from Comic Books about Branding?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

The brands Marvel and DC are synonymous with comics. But how many people would necessarily associate Knopf, Viking, and Perennial books? (Of all the trade book publishing brands, perhaps Penguin has the strongest association — with paperbacks).

Why is this so? Is it because comic books are among the few genres that readers are able to seek out and purchase on their own at a young impressionable age (as opposed to, say, The Letters of Saul Bellow?). Is it because of their bright eye catching graphics? The fact that the stories and characters are themselves mythic and larger-than-life?

Or is it something more prosaic, such as the fact that as the credits role before the opening of the latest iteration of the X-Men or Spiderman film franchises, a giant-sized animated Marvel graphic swirls up on the screen, searing the brand into people’s corneas.

Even lesser known publishers have a certain marketability — who will soon forget the name “Humanoids,” as discussed in today’s lead story — that trade publishers lack.

Are there lessons that trade book publishers can learn from comic book publishers about branding?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.