The Round Table: Swag

March 14, 2013 Round Table 8


A good friend and I were discussing the pros and cons of swag. Who doesn’t like free stuff? Right? There’s something about it that makes us stand up and want it even if we have no use for it. Authors and publishers use promotional items to help spread the word about upcoming releases. Swag can be bookmarks, postcards, soap, lip balm, pens, etc. It is suppose to remind us about an author or prompt us to look up information regarding a book and/or author.

I’m not a fan of swag I can’t use. I’ll use a pen, but admit it won’t prompt me to research an author. As for postcards, I like the ones you can write a message to someone and drop it off in the mail. A win-win situation for an author since two people and quite possibly the mailer carrier gets to see it. Magnets I won’t say no to since you can always use them, as well as coffee mugs. Even if you don’t end up drinking from it, you can use it to store pens, paper clips, and well just about anything. As for tote bags, I’m on the fence. I’ve attended a lot of academic conferences where they give you a tote upon your registration and I’m not sure what to do with the totes I already have. I like the idea of lip balm, but I admit I have a basket full of balm I never use and just pass it on (unused because used would be gross). I don’t particularly like temp tattoos. I’m not twelve (okay at that age they were so cool) and I’ve been known to pass off any temp tattoos to people I know with children. So don’t look twice if you see a child walking around with a D-Bags tattoo (band from SC Stephen’s Thoughtless series).

In the end, the reason why I’m not a big fan of swag is because I’m not sure what to do with it. I have a ton of bookmarks and while I’m reading forget to use them so they just sit there unused. Mini-flashlights burn themselves out and are useful to carry around when walking at night with the dog (although my phone has a flashlight app so I’ll use that instead). Matchbooks are nice to have. I have a ton of Fangtasia matches from when my sister worked at Atlantic and they had matchbooks made up for the True Blood soundtrack. I admit never bother to use a matchbook when lighting candles and use a candle lighter instead. So where do I keep the swag I do get? In a shoebox.

I will admit to swag envy. Of course when I see what celebrities get, my mouth drops and my heart pines to reach out and go through the swag bag. Then of course there’s the swag haul that makes me wish I had been there. I quickly remind myself, “swag in a box Jess.” I’d rather let all the swag go to someone who really wants it.

Do you like swag? If so, do you have a favorite type and where do you keep it? Authors, what type of swag have you noticed most readers gravitate towards?

8 Responses to “The Round Table: Swag”

  1. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas

    I like swag, but I will admit that much of mine never gets any use. I personally love bookmarks the most though. I don’t use them but I like to frame a bunch of them. I have 2 frames full right now (with some bookplates and stickers), and I desperately need more frames. It’s a cute way to display signed stuff. But the other stuff like temp tattoos I have no clue what to do with. I’ll use a tote bag or a shirt, but I don’t have any of those.

    • Jessica

      I have a few signed bookmarks that are in my “signed” stuff box. Maybe in the future they’ll be displayed or something because I like the idea of framing them. Likewise, if I get a shirt, hey I’ll use it, etc. I’m just curious to see what people do with the swag they get because a lot of it is produced.

  2. La Deetda Reads

    I’m with you Jessica, I find most swag useless but I can’t seem to turn it down when offered. What I appreciate most are signed bookplates and the mugs are useful.

    • Jessica

      I love signed bookplates even though I never place them inside the intended books. I’m curious to see what people do with the swag they get or which they prefer. So much of it is produced and it just seems like a waste if no one isn’t keeping it.

  3. Krista

    I personally agree with you in the fact I really don’t use the SWAG they send me, I love the coffee cup idea or a handmade bookmark is awesome. Swag for me has included lip balm but I am a goofy nut about what I put on my body so if I have no idea what it has in it I just don’t use it. I loved the magnets that I got but the best SWAG has been from a historical fiction author she sent me handmade notecards that were made to look old from the time period her book was set in and a wax stamp with wax that was the symbol of her book, plus I received from Marie Eve Mont a necklace that I wear all the time with Bronte Sisters on it to remind me of her book inspired by Bronte. I love it and everytime I get asked about it I think of her. It was not expensive and way nice. i think that authors have to put a little thought into it and make it different to get some readers attention. Love the post!!!! I am more of a fan of getting the book than the swag but I do understand why the swag I also loved a pin I received from Meyer the author of Cinder! That was great!

    Swag is great but be original about it, bookmarks are the best way to go I think when in doubt but sign them!!! I love them signed.

    • Jessica

      How awesome to receive notecards and a wax seal! I personally love wax seals. See, there’s cool swag and it makes me jealous when people get the cool stuff. I’m glad you are able to use the necklace and it is something you can use.

      Sometimes I enjoyed a book, but not enough to own it so a signed bookmark is good for me. I have 4 books signed that quite frankly afterwards kept thinking a signed bookmark would have been okay.

  4. Jess C (@JessBooks_Sense)

    I also love/hate swag. On the plus bookmarks have introduced me to books, series and authors I’m not familiar with and I adore my tote bags, magnets and stickers ! However like you I have no idea what to do with Postcards and Tattoos. I just pass it on to other bloggers !

    • Jessica

      I’m curious to know what people do with it because so much of it is produced (ie postcards, etc) and I want to know where it all goes!

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