Publishers: Get Your Books in Don Draper’s Hands
Last night was the second-season premiere of the TV series Mad Men. I watched the series devoutly last year; this year, it has gotten such a huge press buildup that I was almost sick of it before it aired.
Last night’s episode didn’t push the storylines forward too much, since it needed to reacclimate viewers to where the characters stand. But there was one significant theme: Don Draper, at 36, is feeling older. He seems prepped, mentally and physically, for a midlife crisis. So when he’s having lunch in a bar and sees the fellow next to him reading Meditations in an Emergency, a collection of Frank O’Hara‘s poems, it makes an impression. Later in the show we see a beauty shot of the book’s cover as Draper himself reads it intently.
I clicked over to Amazon to check the book’s sales rank a few minutes after Draper read the book. A rather mediocre No. 15,565. This morning, at 8:30 a.m., the book was ranked No. 161. That probably represents only 50 or 100 copies sold, but it’s a pretty fantastic leap for a 50-year-old book of poems. Since Mad Men is set in the early 1960’s, publishers are obviously limited in their product-placement opportunities. But I’m sure all of you can think of some good books to get in the hands of some current TV characters.