Since we’re on vacation, a little light entertainment is in order. We’ve been watching book trailers lately, trying to determine the best way to use them at our store and with customers. Embeddable videos can be placed on bookstore websites and in email blasts and on Facebook, links can be included in e-newsletters and in Twitter. I can even imagine turning to a great book trailer to intrigue a browsing teen if a book talk isn’t doing the trick.
I’ve often wondered why books didn’t have commercials the way movies did. (Well, I wondered that as a young person, before I understood the comparative economics of books and movies….) It seemed like such a great way to get the word out. So I’m happy that authors and publishers are putting trailers on YouTube to let more people know about their new titles.
Some of these trailers are very slick, almost like mini-movies. Some are produced by publishers. Others are created by the authors themselves, who are either tech-savvy or hire help from companies that specialize in these kinds of bite-sized videos. Even the home-grown, simpler efforts can be quite appealing. Some trailers present only information about the book itself; others might include footage of an author sharing behind-the-scenes tidbits, or stop-action montages, or images and music that evoke a feeling rather than tell a story. Some of the best trailers are created by fans, out of sheer love for the book.
The possibilities are only just beginning to be explored. Like anything technological, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a deluge of offerings, but there is so much possible good to be had from an effective book trailer that it’s worth taking a look at what’s out there.
Below are a few examples of trailers for recent and upcoming books. Booksellers, do you seek out book trailers? If so, how have you used them? Publishers, when you make the trailers, do you alert booksellers to their existence?
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith
And below, winners of the 2009 Teen Book Trailer Contest. Teens were invited make a short video (30 seconds to 3 minutes) about their favorite book, upload it to YouTube with a certain identifying tag name, and let the contest begin. We were impressed with what they came up with.
Booksellers, don’t forget to tell us if and how you use book trailers!