Monday, July 26, 2010

Silly Bandz and Books

What do Silly Bandz have to do with books? Well, nothing really. Sort of.

Silly Bandz, for those who don’t know, are the new craze in preteen fun and fashion. These innocuous little toys sell for about $5 for a box of twenty and kids love them. They wear them, trade them, and collect them. They can’t get enough. Who would have thought?

I mean really. Who would have thought that a box of rubber bands would become the next Pet Rock. I mean, for that matter, who would have thought that the Pet Rock would have become the Pet Rock?

And that’s how it works. That’s how books work too. No one, no one in this entire business, is absolutely sure about anything. There are no guarantees. I’ve seen agents and editors snap up books they are sure will be the next hot book and author only to see it fizzle, and I’ve seen agents and editors pay next to nothing for what eventually becomes the next hottest thing ever (Da Vinci Code, anyone?).

So when you decide that everyone is too stupid to see the next big bestseller or wonder why a certain book has become what it has become, think of Silly Bandz. Sure, now it’s easy to see why kids love them, but I personally am still confounded by how much. I mean really, sold out?

Jessica

25 comments:

Rick Daley said...

Riding on the coattails of SillyBandz are several knock-off brands. Zandy Bands are a type my kids mention, and I've seen others at the supermarket / drugstore checkout lines. Same concept of rubber bands that snap back to a specific shape, but the shapes are different.

I'm sure you don't have to stretch your imagination to see the parallel to these followers in the publishing world ;-)

The kids (my boys are 8 and 6) have a detailed economy that goes along with the trading. Apparently - in their school, at least - the phoenix is the most valuable shape. A phoenix is worth two butterflies and a sun. And like a dozen musical instruments...

Anonymous said...

I love this post. I was thinking about this just the other day while I was suffering through a supposedly "fantastic book." It has a zillion reviews on Good Reads and was on bestseller lists for entire YEARS, and finally I broke down and read it and thought.... is this a joke?? WTF??

I'm going to remember this post from now on. Rubber bands. Rubber bands. Rubber bands.

book said...

I appreciate the great work done to build this post!! Books to sell, books to Learn wonderful things, to read to love...And much more things done with the books...Even in such developed computer age...people are thirsty of reading, buying and selling books this really make me wonder....!!Thanks for the post!!

Anonymous said...

My nieces are crazy about those things. At least they're not Beanie Babies.

E. A. Brass said...

Not only are Silly Bandz and certain books crazy-popular, but you can buy them in the same transaction. I work in a bookstore and discovered this week that we carry them. (We actually carry some Beanie Babies, too. Ack.)

Now we just need someone to write Bent Out of Shape, the story of a wrist-addicted Silly Band who overcomes his disabilities, rediscovers his identity, and rises to stardom. Instant success. Maybe. Sort of.

Mary Brebner said...

OMG--my 8th grade students were completely obsessed with them! The most popular shape was the penguin; the kids would trade the 10 other bands on their arms for one penguin. Kids are weird. Cracks me up.

Jennifer said...

Love the comparison!

Yesterday was actually the first time I'd heard of these bands (bandz) and it was from my eight-year-old cousin.

My dad then made the comment, "you never know what the next Pet Rock will be."

All I could think about was being a kid and jumping on the jelly shoes bandwagon in the 80's. Most uncomfortable shoes ever. But I HAD to have them.

Fawn Neun said...

My husband and I were examining a package of the dino-shaped ones at the store over the weekend and ended up doing an impromptu Seth & Amy "Really?" sketch in the check out line.

Our kids are too old for these things, so we'd never seen them before, but we stood there trying to figure out how they could get away with charging $3 for a box of rubberbands shaped like dinosaurs that wouldn't look anything like dinosaurs the moment you put them to use.

There's no accounting for taste, and even literary fiction isn't immune to fadism.

The Writers Canvas said...

Wow, interesting post. It reminded me of all the crazed things in the past. (Beanie Babies, anyone?)

I never understood how the Pet Rock craze began, but I had one when I was a kid :)

I'd never thought of comparing these kinds of things to books. Interesting analogy.

Elaine

ryan field said...

My nephews are crazy for these things. It's all I hear.

Guess the same thing applies to book as well.

Anonymous said...

One diff btwn the bandz and Beanie Babies-- at least there aren't any websites out there trying to convince buyers that SillyBandz will be worth hundreds of dollars in a couple years, if you just keep them in your freezer.

Er. Tell me that there aren't

Lauren said...

That reminds me of the Giga Pets of the 90s. I had several of them - oh, and the Furbies. Who knows, really, what the heck the next craze will be and how they even become what they do. I would really like to know, though. It's like a Harper Lee thing, here. She thought her book was just a simple story of love (the same could be said for Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook) and BAM, they were amazing hits with people.

Christina said...

When I was young, it was pogs. Everyone wanted pogs. My friends and I spent all our extra money on pogs and just as quickly as the fad came, it disappeared.

Sheila Cull said...

Silly Bandz? In that case, I have something called a Cardboard Box and you play with it and use your imagination! And it's only five dollars a box. Anybody interested? Seriously, great point.

LadyGenette said...

When my 16-yr-old sister told me her friend was selling bracelets, I thought, "hey cool." When I saw the bracelets were rubber bands, the "cool" became "*facepalm*." The one thing the Bandz have going for them is fluorescence. Reminds me of the good ol' days when every good party took place under black light.

People like whatever makes their imagination wander (Harry Potter, Twilight). They like conspiracies (Da Vinci Code). They like the things they can't get at home (pick a romance novel. Just pick one). It's all about the imagination and what people want to picture.

Tara Maya said...

As someone who once owned rubix cube earrings, I cannot throw stones.

With books -- there are some books that begin as a craze and end as a joke. There are other books that begin as a craze and end as a classic.

Brad Jaeger said...

I love this post. You've lifted my spirits more than you can possibly imagine :)

hsoister said...

I still have my pet rock. It definitely looks like a gimmick from the 70's and was just a gag gift to me. Now it's an antique I've kinda sentimental about.

John said...

It’s so interesting how this trend exploded like it did. We created Faith Bands—inspirational bandz based on Bible stories and biblical themes. We currently have 14 different sets of inspirational Faith Bands. We also have eight sets of general market bands (animal shapes, automobiles, etc.) because the demand is so great. We’re constantly adding more unique bandz designs to our already rare inventory.

We created these bandz as a way for people to share their faith. Swanson Christian Products—the company that created Faith Bands—has been in business for over 75 years as a Christian product wholesale distributor.

For more information about our Faith Bands, visit FaithBands.org. For more information on Swanson Christian Products, visit SwansonInc.com.

Brad Jaeger said...

@ John

I'm more of a Darwin-fish SillyBandz collector myself.

Horserider said...

I know more teenagers with Silly Bandz than I do kids. It kind of creeps me out.

Awesome post and so true. I just remind myself of J.K. Rowling and keep trucking.

Stephanie said...

Have you seen the scented ones??? Yeah...scented rubber bands. They smell like Bubble Gum. My daughter's school had to ban them becuase the kids were too disruptive taking about them trading them, looking at them. So the craze kinda died pretty fast in my house.

Great post!!

Nicole said...

Boy just goes to show how out of the teen loop I am. Haha.

And you know what I always wished I'd invented?

Those little umbrellas that sit in drinks.

But I'll settle for writing a book.

Anonymous said...

That's how I feel about clueless agents: Don't they know my book is brilliant and is bound to become a bestseller? Their loss! LOL

Anonymous said...

How tacky of you to turn this into a commercial for your faith-based rubber bands.

It's enough to make an atheist out of anyone.