Traditional book marketing – is it really dead?

Talk about getting the lowdown on book promotions – I attended the first professional development seminar by the Small Press Underground Networking Community (SPUNC) at the new Wheeler Centre (in Melbourne) on Wednesday.

The title of the seminar was ‘Traditional and online sales and marketing for publishers’. The first speaker was Daniel Ruffino, director of marketing at Penguin Australia.

At the end of the talk, there was an explanatory ‘footnote’ something along the lines of:

‘We’d intended to cover traditional marketing, but it’s pretty much dead’.

According to Ruffino, the media simply aren’t interested in books any more. Newspaper pages devoted to book reviews are diminishing, and it’s next to impossible getting an author onto a TV talk show.

I also heard a publishing industry insider remark that book launches are a waste of effort.

I’m wondering what authors and self-publishers are finding. There’s a lot of info out there on traditional approaches – how to get book reviews, book signings, launches and the like … but how effective is it really nowadays?