Product Design

E-Mook: Buy the Mook to Get the Gift

The e-mook has become all the rage in Japan. An enhanced version of a mook (cross between a magazine and a book), the e-mook, published by Takarajimasha, expands the hybrid concept a step further by including a premium gift inserted in a box attached to every mook. Typically focused on a single trendy fashion label, e-mooks are brand specific, containing articles about the designer, manufacturing process, celebrity customers and a catalog of the latest collection.

E-mooks typically run about 150 pages and retail for about $15 — a lot if you think of an e-mook as an unapologetic promotion for a brand, but a bargain if what you really want is the exclusively designed “gift” that comes with each purchase. For instance, the Marimekko e-mook included two canvas bags, Undercover menswear maker added an edgy cotton tote, Marc Jacobs enclosed a towel, Milk Fed teen fashion maker included a square towel imprinted with hearts. In the U.S., e-mooks can be found in bookstores such as Kinokuniya, and American consumers who can’t even read the e-mooks, which are written in Japanese, are buying them too — like buying Cracker Jack to get the toy inside. It’s hard to say whether the e-mook is a passing fad, a new model for print publishers, or a new combined merchandising and advertising concept, but e-mooks have taken premium gifts into territory that no publisher has gone before.