Welcome to writing/communications Wednesday.Today’s post addresses a topic from my New Media Narratives (COMM 597) course for my Master of Arts in Communications and Technology degree.

The question that inspired me to discuss book trailers was: “What are some current views about the emergence and diffusion of media?” in relation to the topic of publishing history.

The book trailer is something I’ve known about for a few years. I saw some book trailers made and outsourced by some self-published authors/bloggers in 2011. At that time I didn’t really understand the goals or purpose behind the book trailers, but now I can see that book trailers are a useful tool for marketing online and through social media. The concept of book trailers has been around since about 2003, and in 2006 they started to gain speed as technology progressed and now book trailers are found widely on the Internet.

Sheila Clover English, CEO of Circle of Seven Productions, writes that a book trailer is defined as:

An acted-out dramatization of a book synopsis.Book trailers use scenes from the book with live actors.These are primarily professionally made, and involve full production crews.”

I wanted to find three book trailers that could be compared based on style, so I found three trailers created by publishers all featuring Young Adult books.

Example of book trailer by HarperTeen:

Book videos on the other hand are: “a book shown in a visual manner, whether it is digital or film. The term ‘book video’ can be used to describe any type of visual synopsis for a book.

Example of book video by HarperTeen:

I wonder which one most people prefer?

It seems easier for me to get a better overview if the actors give you a taste of the story like in a movie trailer. The moving/changing text seems cumbersome to read with typical images and a loud sound track in the background.

My favorite-type of book trailers are the cartoons. They provide a synopsis from a narrator without the poor acting or the challenge of trying to read the words before the disappear. The video does all the work for you. It doesn’t imitate the movie trailer or remediate the printed text.

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Orion Publishing:

There are other types of “book trailers” such as author interviews of book review videos as English describes in her e-book.

Why create book trailers?

Here are some reasons I came up with while thinking about how book trailers could be used for marketing:

  • Videos are a popular medium for Internet users (over 1 billion unique visitors to YouTube each month). People who watch YouTube videos might stumble upon the video and a new reader could be gained.
  • The book trailers in a few seconds or minutes can capture the setting (photos, scenery/sets) and the mood/tone or emotion of the story (music, colors, and font styles). It engages the senses which cannot be stimulated by reading a regular text synopsis on a screen.
  • Librarians, bookstore owners, and readers can get a quick overview of the story which helps them decide whether to stock or read the book

Book trailers are a way for authors to use a digital medium to market their stories. I think a good book trailer requires a high level of production and therefore, specialized equipment and people who can create a high-quality trailer. Now, especially as publishers start to create high-quality book trailers, that they can be a particularly effective way to reach a wider audience and generate a buzz about the book.

Take the poll:

Do you think book trailers are useful in deciding whether to read/buy a book?


If you like book trailers, which type appeals to you the most?