Tuesday, February 12, 2008

eBooks For Trees


Last week I got a very strange email.  It came from Jenny at Guerrilla PR and said: 

If you are interested in covering the “Plant a Tree” drive, or reviewing iChapters, then please let me know, and I can send you a $5.00 gift certificate to use on iChapters.com, in addition to an exclusive “Plant a Tree” badge for your site.

She included a link to a press release which explains that the I Planted a Tree drive is "a month-long green campaign aimed at emphasizing conservation, supporting reforestation efforts, and reducing the company’s environmental impact by planichaptersting trees for every eChapter or eBook purchased through their website, www.iChapters.com. "

This is a great idea!  Anyone in the market for textbooks can buy a book or eBook from iChapter and save both money and trees.

The thing I have trouble understanding is why the company thinks it needs to  resort to "bribery" to get noticed. 

And even more curious is that there is no mention in the press release or email of the tree drawing contest.  I found out by accident when I stumbled on to their Facebook page.

I guess I expect a little more class from iChapters.  This company is an innovator.  They lease textbooks or chapters of textbooks to use over a six month period.  You can use the book online, download a .pdf version and print pages as needed.  Oh, and did I mention, that the cost for a text book is about half what you would pay for the printed version? 

This is a demonstratively innovative company. So why the dumb PR campaign? 

It is particularly absurd when you consider the name of the PR firm: Guerilla PR. Since when is handing out $5.00 gift certificates a guerilla tactic?  It is my considered opinion that Guerilla PR needs to rethink their name. 

I applaud iChapters for it's social consciousness and effort to help the environment.  The Plant a Tree campaign is a marvelous idea and stands on its own merit.  Why dilute the message with lame publicity stunts? 

For the record:  I am NOT accepting the $5.00 gift certificate.

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