And then we come to the brand: academic insights from international bestsellers

Stephen Brown (Ulster Business School, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, UK)

Arts Marketing: An International Journal

ISSN: 2044-2084

Publication date: 20 May 2011



The literary world is an elitist enclave, where anti‐marketing rhetoric is regularly encountered. This paper aims to show that the book trade has always been hard‐nosed and commercially driven.


This paper is less a review of the literature, or a theoretical treatise, than a selective revelation of the commercial realities of the book business.


The paper shows that the cultural industries in general and the book business in particular were crucibles of marketing practice long before learned scholars started taking notice. It highlights the importance of luck, perseverance and, not least, marketing nous in the “manufacture” of international bestsellers.

Research limitations/implications

By highlighting humankind's deep‐seated love of narrative – its clear preference for fiction over fact – this paper suggests that marketing scholars should reconsider their preferred mode of research representation. Hard facts are all very well, but they are less palatable than good stories, well told.


The paper makes no claim to originality. It recovers what we already know but appear to have forgotten in our non‐stop pursuit of scientific respectability.



Brown, S. (2011), "And then we come to the brand: academic insights from international bestsellers", Arts Marketing: An International Journal, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 70-86.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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