Today I want to give a shout-out to one of my favorite blogs, Gregg Easterbrook’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback. Ostensibly a recap of the previous week’s football games, Easterbrook typically goes off on tangents that even a non-football fan can appreciate, covering everything from astrophysics to economics to Battlestar Galactica. One recurring item is Christmas Creep: how every year retailers and advertisers seem to be promoting Christmas earlier and earlier in the calendar. For instance, in
I’ve had Christmas Creep on the brain, because November 1st seems to be an unofficial date for the media to start publishing their year-end best-book lists. So far we’ve got the New York Times best illustrated, Publisher’s Weekly and Amazon, with many more to come. I suppose I see the logic in getting these lists out early so that retailers can plan their “best of 2010” holiday displays. But still, by printing “best-ofs” in early November, these media outlets essentially declare that books are done for the year and make November and December a virtual dead zone for new titles.
With so many books fighting all year long for attention, publishers could really use two more months to space out their promotional efforts, rather than having to spend the end of the year focused on “the best.” But what if Christmas keeps on creeping earlier and earlier? Will the window for new book promotion shrink even further, to the point where publishers can only effectively market a few books a year? Or will people start getting skeptical of “best-of-the-year” lists that cover only 10 months or less, especially if there are fewer books to consider? Better yet, could books actually lead the way in reversing the Creep? To me, that would be the best Christmas present of all!