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Pop-up record store will promote Michael Chabon's new novel

Diesel, a bookstore in Oakland, Calif., will be transformed into the fictional Brokeland Records for one week.

By Elizabeth Drake / August 13, 2012

HarperCollins is pulling out all the stops on the marketing of Michael Chabon's 'Telegraph Avenue,' which follows the story of the struggling co-owners of an Oakland, Calif., record store.


In Michael Chabon’s new novel "Telegraph Avenue,” old friends Nat and Archy have every reason to worry. They're the struggling co-owners of Brokeland, a used record store in Oakland, Calif. And now a new megastore is set to open up near them on Telegraph Avenue.

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But if prospects are dim for Nat and Archy, the opposite seems to be the case for "Telegraph Avenue." With the novel’s release set for Sept. 11, HarperCollins is pulling out all the stops on the marketing of the latest book by Chabon, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
In order to gain publicity for "Telegraph Avenue," Harper Imprint’s marketing team has made plans to take an actual bookstore – Diesel, in Oakland – and transform it into a live counterpart to the fictional Brokeland Records. From Sept. 7 to Sept. 14, the store will sell used jazz records supplied by independent record seller Berigan Taylor.

Brokeland Record signs will be put in the place of the Diesel signs and Brokeland Records’ bags, buttons, and stamps will be sold. Diesel’s website will also temporarily offer a webpage for “Diesel in Brokeland.”

On Sept. 12, the store will hold a promotional party for Chabon that will include a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization 826, which offers classes in writing instruction and tutoring for students. Chabon has donated an 8-track player and a “Telegraph Avenue” mix to put up for raffle as prizes.

Leah Wasielewski, the imprint's director of marketing, told The Wall Street Journal that estimates that the budget for this new publicity drive is more than $250,000.

Chabon previously wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay." "Telegraph Avenue" is his first novel in five years. The film rights to "Telegraph Avenue" have been bought by the film and television producer Scott Rudin, who produced the 2011 film "Moneyball."
Harper put out a sampler of the e-book version of “Telegraph Avenue” in July. When the full e-book is released, it will contain an interactive map of Oakland, eight videos of Chabon, a playlist put together by Chabon, an animated cover, audio book clips done by actor Clarke Peters, and a “Telegraph Avenue” theme song written by Peter Lerman.

Elizabeth Drake is a Monitor contributor.


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