Why promote an old book?
August 3, 2018 10:28 AM   Subscribe

I received a gift book from the author that seems legit to have come directly from Amazon with a gift receipt. Why?

It is not exactly a promotion as the book was published 6 years ago.
I have published in academia but this is not an academic book, and also it is not in my field as a lay book.
I do not know the author. I do not know anyone who knows him.
The amazon gift card had a note that addressed me personally, and was said to be from the author. It was not a standard Amazon note, but the message was not very specific or personal. It was quite vague.
*Have you ever gotten this kind of thing?
*Why do I feel it might not really be from the author? What could this mean besides the fact that it's a promotional gift?
*Why might I have gotten it?
On the one hand, it is very nice to receive a gift and on the other I'm confused.
Thanks for any ideas.
posted by nantucket to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
 
Why not contact the author and ask?
posted by Jacqueline at 10:51 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


It's not written by Rich Shapero, is it?
posted by gyusan at 10:57 AM on August 3


There are scams that involve buying things on Amazon. The scammer sets up a phony item for sale on Amazon and then buys the item - perhaps with a stolen CC or perhaps for the purpose of laundering money. Here is a story on one scam. Perhaps the "gift" aspect is cover for buying a bunch of these books and shipping them randomly.

Or, maybe it's just a mistake!
posted by Mid at 11:33 AM on August 3


This immediately made me think of this Ask about how to find strangers who want a copy of a book OP likes so that OP can send it to them. It's maybe kind of a thing?? But I was so baffled by this question - I could only imagine the recipients being mystified and kind of creeped out (like you).
posted by aimedwander at 11:58 AM on August 3


It's not written by Rich Shapero, is it?

No, but that link was interesting, thanks.
posted by nantucket at 1:43 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


I have gotten Amazon gift books from people who did not know me personally. It's an easy way to show your appreciation to somebody; I suspect the author just liked something you published or did and had the impulse to send you the book. Just send a thank-you and enjoy it!
posted by languagehat at 2:09 PM on August 3


Is it possible the author is hoping you'll buy more books or tell everyone about this positive experience so those people will buy more books?
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:10 PM on August 3


> Is it possible the author is hoping you'll buy more books or tell everyone about this positive experience so those people will buy more books?

That's what publishers do, and they know exactly who to send books to for that kind of impact. It would make zero sense for an author to send books to random people in the vague hope that maybe somehow that will get somebody else to buy it. Seriously, there is little likelihood of some evil-capitalist explanation here; the author apparently just wanted nantucket to have the book.
posted by languagehat at 2:13 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


Yes I said yes, it would have made sense to me as a promotion if the book were new.
Think I'll go with the hoofbeats coming from horses not zebras today, as languagehat suggests, unless I later see a flash of black and white stripes...
posted by nantucket at 2:24 PM on August 3


You say the note is vague but did it give you an idea of the sender's purpose? What did the note say? "I think you'll enjoy this book?"
posted by jj's.mama at 3:42 PM on August 3


Maybe they were trying to send it to someone else with a similar name and got your info by mistake.

When a new book is coming out, often you will see the author's other books go on sale. Is the author publishing again soon?
posted by soelo at 3:54 PM on August 3


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