This post by author Russell Blake on The Passive Voice describes books as another retail product which require considerable if not massive amounts of promotion and advertising to sell copies. Blake goes as far as to state that "constant promotion" is required. That may be so, in fact, it probably is but there is likely a breakthrough point at which time word of mouth and the desire to have what many/most others have takes over. Interestingly, Blake doesn't consider quality as the main factor and opines that it is not sufficient to write the best book you can. It is still important and necessary, however.
I'm sure he's correct; Russell Blake is known in the indie book world as a prolific seller. My concern and objection is with the amount of promotion and advertising that already engulfs our world. I can still recall when hockey boards were bare and devoid of advertising. There was a time when dentists, doctors and lawyers relied on their reputation, not newspaper ads. Once corporate sponsorship wasn't considered essential for every worthy cause and event from neighbourhood to national. I've written in an earlier post about taking a media fast; you could try an advertising fast but you'd have to wear blinders and earplugs. I've noticed that television programs have started placing advertising logos and brief messages in the bottom quarter of the screen, randomly inserted during the show. I suppose they know that too many of us PVR and then fast forward through the commercials.
Many people use social media and sites like Tripadvisor to get real opinions from individuals who have no financial stake in the outcome. But then I've read of writers and publishers who have either purchased reviews or entered into an elaborate arrangement that involves trading reviews. Favourable, of course. But is it possible for everyone to be satisfied with the same thing?