How books can boost your business
If print is dead, why doesn't it go away?
If it had been up to the future forecasters of 20 years ago, we'd only be reading books on an e-reader by now. The reality is somewhat different.
In 2021, sales of print books reached record highs worldwide. Many readers still prefer the tactility and permanence of paper to the sterility of a digital device. A book is held, read, kept and cherished.
As a business, you can benefit from this. At Luster, we have produced many publications in collaboration with businesses, brands and designers. We can roughly divide these projects into two groups:
- Tell the world who you are
The universe of Bea Mombaers
Over the past few decades, Bea Mombaers has evolved from a passionate treasure hunter and vintage collector to a renowned interior decorator. But until recently, anyone who wanted to discover her creations had to visit her Instagram page or stumble upon an interior design magazine feature. Together with Bea, we published a book that does her work justice and showcases it in all its glory. Both the photos of her projects and the tactile and high-quality finish of the book are completely in line with her style. The book is now in its third edition and finds its way to the public through high-end bookshops and concept stores, both in Belgium and especially abroad. The publication has also led to extensive features in leading interior design magazines such as ARK and Openhouse.
The rich history of Antwerp’s Stock Exchange
After years of being abandoned, the impressively renovated Stock Exchange in the heart of Antwerp reopened its doors in 2020. Together with city guide Tanguy Ottomer and Handelsbeurs NV, Luster created an ode to the rich history (and future) of the Stock Exchange. Through words and images, this multilingual book tells you everything about the activities of the exchange over the years, about the building’s architecture and its renovation, and about its occupants and famous visitors. The book is distributed in bookshops and is also offered (or sold) to guests and associates of the Handelsbeurs.
Muller Van Severen Book
What started out as a one-off project in 2011, turned into a success story for designers Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen. Over the past decade, their furniture has won several awards, and their work has led to collaborations with prestigious museums. In 2014, Luster published the duo’s first book, which was divided into three large sections: 1. An introduction to the artistic work of Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen 2. The creative process behind their designs, with lots of sketches and photos from their atelier 3. Images of their designs and furniture. The book cover was screen-printed in four different colours.
- Create a personalised gift
Treat your employees
In the autumn of 2021, gas producer Neptune moved from different locations spread across the Netherlands to a central and brand-new head office in The Hague. To welcome the nearly 1,000 employees and make them feel at home in the new workplace, they were all gifted a Neptune-branded version of our book The 500 Hidden Secrets of The Hague. The guide contains no less than 500 unique places and facts about the city. The books were handed out on the occasion of a staff party in the new location. Both the party and the guides were very much appreciated. Even after the event, the book continues to spark conversations in the workplace. Colleagues tell each other about the places they’ve visited and share their experiences.
Surprise your hotel guests
This may sound familiar: you arrive in a hotel in a foreign city, ready to start exploring. Many hotels cater to this need by placing a magazine from the tourist office in every room. The Strand Palace Hotel in London took it to the next level: they ordered a personalised version of our guide The 500 Hidden Secrets of London and placed one in all of their premium rooms. We have done similar personalisations for several other luxury hotels. Currently, we are developing a mini guide for a hotel group, a slimmer and lower-priced version listing hidden secrets within walking distance of the hotel.
Increase your sales
The magazine Knack was looking for a way to boost shop sales. Based off of our Hidden Belgium guide, we created 3 booklets, respectively themed ‘art & history’, ‘outdoor discoveries’ and ‘unique places & buildings’. For three weeks, a mini-guidebook came with the magazine copies sold in shops. The result was an 28% weekly sales increase on average.
Welcome your guests
For AIPEX, an association of European IP professionals, we created a custom version of The 500 Hidden Secrets of Barcelona on the occasion of their event in this city. All participants received a copy before departure so that they could fully experience Barcelona.
These are just a few examples. A map of the area surrounding your office or event location? A guide filled with healthy lunch spots in a selection of cities? Or a book that lists the most surprising museums or the hippest cocktail bars? The possibilities are endless. If you’d like to discuss this further, just email or call Marc Verhagen.
This is how we work:
- During a first meeting we outline the different possibilities, based on your wishes. Ideally, this meeting would take place in your office or in our library, where you have the chance to leaf through all of our creations.
- On the basis of this first meeting, we create an obligation-free proposal in terms of content, form, timing, and budget.
- From then on, one of our project managers will handle the publication. He or she will take care of everything, coordinate the cooperation between author, editor, graphic designer, photographer and any other parties involved. Naturally, you will be kept in the loop during the entire process and have the opportunity to request changes or suggest certain additions.
- Once the entire book has been laid out and has received your final ‘go’ for printing, it goes off to the printer’s. We visit the printing office ourselves to approve the first printed sheets.
- Depending on the project, we may opt to distribute the book via the retail channel. We do so via our network of bookshops, concept stores and museum shops in Europe and North America.
- If you wish, we can also take care of the press campaign. In Belgium we reach out to our own press contacts, mostly in the field of travel, culture and lifestyle. For foreign markets we work with freelance PR specialists.
Feel like having a brainstorm? We’d love to show you what we, as a small boutique publishing house with a motivated staff of 6 and 13 years and hundreds of book projects worth of experience, can do for you. Email or call Marc Verhagen.
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