I have now read all these three books (in Finnish), and I have to say I really liked them. SL’s language and style of writing are nothing exceptional, but the stories are fascinating.

However, I’m kind of surprised with the amount of product placement in these books. It seriously bothers me that every computer, piece of furniture and mobile phone is described in great detail; and the brand and model always mentioned…

Posted by Emmi in Helsinki , 30 January 2009

By Editor

32 thoughts on “Product placement?”
  1. Just finished reading all three books. Agree that the references to products seemed to almost quote the technical specifications, but then Larsson also started so many chapters with a detailed descriptions of what time someone got up, what they had for breakfast, whether they showered and the colour of the trousers, shirt and jacket they dressed in. Only then would he get back to the story.

    Then there was the description of Australia that seemed to have been taken straight off the world book encyclopaedia!

    It seems to go well beyond being shrugged off as just sloppy editing and reflect an obsessive attention to repetitive detail. It seemed an almost unconscious nod to some of Lisbeth’s characteristics, which are often speculated to be on the autism spectrum, but never actually diagnosed as such. I have read quite a bit about Larsson being reflected in Blomkvist (with some wish fulfilment thrown in?), but perhaps there’s more of him in Lisbeth as well?

    In that way, what seems to be blatant and over the top product placement is really just on a par with Larsson’s treatment of almost everything that can be detailed (including every reference to coffee, sandwiches, clothes choices et al) and the labyrinthine plotting.

    Interesting books, both compelling and frustrating in equal measures.

    Posted by LNT in Fremantle ,

  2. In the second book, when Salander is having a showdown with her evil father she informs them that all of their conversation has been broadcast live on internet radio thanks to her Palm PDA. Her father asks to see it, and he asks to see it. She throws it to him, and after looking at it, he says “Bullshit, this is an ordinary Palm.

    Keep in mind that this dialogue is during a life and death battle between Salander and her father, so it’s all quite funny when you think about it, and in a good way, how Larsson took this scene and made what I think is a satirical jab about how technology pervades our lives even when a gun barrel is in front of us.


    says “Bullshit, this

    Posted by Mark Mercer in Ottawa, Ontario ,

  3. What I don’t understand is why when Lisbeths 13? Apple notebook dies she buys a 17? notebook that is in the desktop replacement class? Even if she liked Apple products she was carrying around that 13? because it fit in here bag and it was light weight. Also she didn’t game, she didn’t go image editing or haevy graphical tasks so that computer she want to buy is ill suied to her life. She’d want an even lighter machine with tools she could really use like GPS, 3G, etc.

    Posted by Monkey in Nantucket ,

  4. I bet the distillers of Tullamore Dew paid SL to put in a section where Lizzie gets drunk on their product just to make people curious about Irish Whiskey.

  5. Ina Hackers use Macs too! I would know ;-)

    Micael Macs are liked not only by Journalists but by technical people too. Go to some of the biggest tech companies and you will find many technicians prefer them. A Mac is a Unix system after all.

    Marco Although Win holds the majority of power / market, Win often feels threatened by Mac, but Win wants to protect their position of power and there is often aggressive reproach of Mac users. Win simultaneously blames Mac users of aggression or fanaticism and tries to break their solidarity.

    Mac is more intuitive, looks better, functions better and is ultimately more pleasing. Sounds familiar to the themes of the book?

    This could even be a carefully orchestrated parallel with the abuse of power themes in the book.

    Posted by Django in Sydney ,

  6. It is quite annoying and detracts from the story. My guess is since Mr. Larsson died prior to publication and can’t object, the publisher had carte blanche to make a few extra bucks by throwing these annoying product placements in.

    Posted by Tom in Miami on his HP Pavilion 5000 with an AMD Turion processor,1 GIG of RAM, winner of several awards… ,

  7. I don’t mind the specifying of brands etc. Lots of writers have done that in “light” literature such as thrillers. It helps to situate the characters and fits our visual age. True it is a bit tedious to read the inventory of furniture bought in Ikea (in book 2) but as a reader one can skip those paragraphs. I read all 3 books in Dutch and thought the translation was maybe a bit flat. But I understand Larsson is a good scenarist but not necessarely a brilliant writer. Anyway, the books are great fun.

    Posted by Lu in Brussel ,

  8. The amount of possible product placement in Stieg Larsson’s books is an outrage!

    Posted by Winchester in Hamburg ,

  9. Great read, but the product placement really debases it as a literary experience. It feels cheap & disrupts the spell that is fundamental to the experience of reading such books. Horribly cynical – did Larsson approve it? If it was altered posthumously it’s a proper disgrace.

    Posted by CM in Scotland ,

  10. Mac vs Win is absolutely Larsson choice. I think it’s the swedish version for the white hat / black hat split in western movies. Good guys use Mac; bad guys use Win.

    Posted by Marco in Italy ,

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