A Newport Beach, Calif., author has released Waiting at Hayden’s, a novel that is billed as the “first book where you can shop the characters’ clothes.”
Whenever a piece of clothing or jewelry is mentioned in the book’s digital version, the reader has the option of clicking on a link that takes her to a filmed portion of the book, which in turn provides a way to order that item. The links will also be listed in the book’s print edition. The novelist earns a commission if anything is purchased.
Author Riley Costello, who is also a fashion blogger, says the idea is well-suited for the woman’s fiction genre.
“I’ve always wanted to shop character clothes as I read,” she says. “So I thought: Why not just put that into my novel and give readers the experience I wish I had?”
However, adding this info did not change the book markedly, she says.
“I had already written it and already mentioned the clothes. Mentioning the clothes is part of the formula of women’s fiction. I didn’t end up having to add a lot. A couple of times, I had to add the name of the brand that was already in there.”
Still, she didn’t want the mentions to seem like product placement or an ad.
“It’s just links over a few words. I just wanted to enrich the experience. I didn’t want to add a bunch of things that weren’t already in there. I just want to enhance the experience to make people feel more connected to the story.”
Most of the mentioned items in the book, a love story about modern relationships, come from companies headed by women entrepreneurs. That includes items from two women-led jewelry start-ups: Ash and Ky and Savi Style.
Costello has a patent pending on the book’s format, which she calls Shopfiction.
“I anticipate lots of other novels will want to come out in this format. It’s a great way for brands to reach a new audience. It’s a great way for authors to connect with the brand’s audience.”
And while occasionally TV shows have tried to make themselves shoppable, Costello feels the approach is best suited for print.
“A lot of times when you’re watching something on TV and you see something like that, you forget. The cool thing here is the link is right in the book, you won’t forget.”
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