I don’t usually blog about press releases, but this week the Penguin Group’s very cool Ebay.com charity auction initiative caught my eye. A much awaited new Guy Gavriel Kay book was launched on line earlier this month, with one lucky winner bidding just over $500 for the first copy of this new novel Under Heaven. Matching contributions were made by both the publisher and author. The total proceeds $1570 go to the Indigo Books and Music Love of Reading Fund, which supports high needs elementary school literacy programs across Canada. The winner was identified as Neil Negandhi of Toronto, a fan of the author, but with this much press and this much money raised for charity everyone involved won. Negandhi ended up with the first book off the presses, authenticated by publisher as the first copy and autographed by the author. This is truly an excellent example of combining social media, new media, philanthropy and publicity. It is no secret that publishers have been struggling with economy and ebooks and multiple other stressors that impact the industry. Earlier this month Penguin Group Canada also launched a web site http://www.guygavrielkay.ca/ dedicated to Guy Gavriel Kay’s works. In addition there is now a Twitter and Facebook account along with downloadable artwork and posters. While other companies might be struggling to find their footing in this brave new digital world Penguin Group Canada clearly already has a leg up on the competition. Gavriel Kay’s novel is on sale in Canada this week. Penguin Group Canada was founded in 1974.
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