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Book Trailers

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Stephen Smith
Book Trailers
on Aug 27, 2012 at 3:40:30 pm

Okay, so this is the Film History & Appreciation forum and I'm posting about a book trailer, but Tim Wilson started it: http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/267/1219 :-)

Anyways, check out this Awesome Book Trailer I was lucky enough to put together. I think it is some of the best stuff I have done, and it is posted here on the COW.

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Scott Roberts
Re: Book Trailers
on Aug 27, 2012 at 6:08:12 pm

Nice! Cool animations. As I don't really know how books are *normally* promoted (Oprah? The Daily Show? NPR?), I support this as a way to promote them from now on.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Book Trailers
on Aug 27, 2012 at 8:02:00 pm

I used to work in the book biz, and promotion is really tough. Most of the money most publishers spend is for placement IN the bookstore. IE, that stuff on the aisle at the cash register ain't there by accident.

I was managing bookstores when publishers started buying placement, and we arrogant bastards who put books where we thought they DESERVED to be put based on our own bookseller-y insight, we were pretty pissed.

But a good investment for the publisher, since 100% of the people who see the book's placement in a store are potential book buyers, compared to one-zillionth of one percent of the percentage of people watching tv who are potential book buyers.

Not that they haven't tried - to their credit, if not their success. In this case, the bookstore chain rather than the publisher, but you may remember an ill-advised campaign by B. Dalton in 1998 (technically Barnes & Noble, which bought them in 86.) It was based around "Books Dalton," the "guy" behind B. Dalton - get it? His first name is Books! Hilarious! More like humiliating. He was this Where's Waldo looking guy only with a bow tie...blah blah blah. It was so shitty that I can't even find a clip at YouTube, a picture at Google Images - nada. Which is fine by me, except that I wanted to show you how appalling it was. Dude, we had "life-sized" cardboard cutouts of this idiot at the front of the store.

Terrible idea. I was pretty low on the totem pole (needless to say), but I got in touch with upper management and suggested they get authors to actually READ a few paragraphs of their books as narration over 60-second movie adaptations of their books, so to speak, then at the end, one side of the "movie" fades so that you can see the author reading the book aloud, which they lower as they turn to the camera and smile. Lower third gives their name, narrator says now on sale at B. Dalton, etc etc etc.

It was a rough idea, but I think you can see that a child could storyboard it, and done right, it could be really compelling...but I think that an actual self-contained trailer is a better idea...if still over 20 years since I pitched my idea at Barnes & Noble. :-) The internet is also a better fit than TV anyway. But anything would have been better than Books Dalton...including nothing.

I'd love to see some of these kinds of trailers run in front of movies. I agree that the percentage of TV viewers who read tends to be small - but not as true at some kinds of movies. Think about Harry Potter. How many people in those audiences are readers, including grown-ups? Nearly all of them. Same for Hunger Games, which btw, has passed Harry Potter as the best-selling series of all time. (The difference between big audience and big influence: discuss.)

Black Swan, Hugo, The Artist - there are a bunch of movies I could see book trailers run in front of....except that the final problem being that few books will net a publisher what even a crappy "failure" movie will. You'd get into the same thing that movie studios fall into: rolling the dice with big budget, mass appeal stuff that's not necessarily very good. A much riskier proposition for an entertainment medium that thrives on at least the illusion of superior quality.

The other thing that I'm seeing more of is book advertising in magazines. You'd see it in the arts sections of newspapers of course, but I'm now seeing an increasing number of them in general interest magazines, especially for young adult novels, which is the smoking hot category. (And more and more, they're really good books, no pejorative or qualification suggested. Catcher In The Rye would be published as a young adult title today. )

Anyway, yes, Oprah and Harry by themselves saved publishing, but the other thing now is Kindle. It is allowing book sales in general to go up, and unlike MP3s, where the success of iTunes has largely killed the music business, Kindle prices are very close to physical book prices...and as a Kindle reader myself, I find myself buying more books in a year than I used to buy in 5. It's too easy NOT to buy.

So I'm starting to see the electronic equivalent of publishers buying placement in the bookstore that began in the 80s - buying feature positions in electronic newsletters and front pages of Amazon.com.

I'd still like to see more trailers. This is another great one. I wouldn't even mind a pop-up for these. "We notice that you've bought a lot of movies and books here - wanna see a trailer for this book?" Man, I'd say yes every time.

Feel free to add this to the list of things I think way too much about instead of working. It's a pretty long list.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Book Trailers
on Aug 27, 2012 at 8:36:49 pm

Book trailers in a movie theatre seem like a natural fit to me, when they are tied to one of the films being advertised in some way.


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Stephen Smith
Re: Book Trailers
on Aug 28, 2012 at 3:09:30 pm

I have never heard of a book trailer until I read that post by Tim. I did some book trailer searches before I started on the one I did and most of them are really bad. I think it is a great way to give people a glimpse into the book.

This was my favorite book trailer that I ran a-crossed:





Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Jeff Breuer
Re: Book Trailers
on Aug 28, 2012 at 3:11:23 pm

Great job Stephen! Great epic feel. If I ever bump into Peter Jackson I will put in a good word for you.

Jeff


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Scott Roberts
Re: Book Trailers
on Aug 28, 2012 at 3:19:04 pm

I don't know if this qualifies as a *trailer* but it's the only YouTube book promotion I've ever seen before this week when I saw Stephen's video.

And the only reason I saw it was because I'm a fan of this dude's football blog. I think Tim's right, the book promotion game is a harsh one.

But a little comedy never hurt sales I imagine:








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