Over the past few months, more and more book trailer links appear as I surf for information on newly released books. Of course I have heard of movie trailers, but what exactly is a book trailer and what purpose could it possibly serve for written material?
At base, a book trailer is a video advertisement used to promote a piece of written work. Circle of Seven Productions created and trademarked the book trailer market back in 2002 in hopes of bringing in new readers and ramping up the publishing industry. Since then it seems that the book trailer has taken on a life of its own, including several different awards honoring its niche. For example, take a look at this year’s winner of Australia’s 2009 Book Video Awards or the finalists for the Kirkus Reviews’09 Book Video Awards as a sampler.
The issue I take with the book trailer is that reading is one of the few remaining arts left open to complete individual interpretation. When you read a book cover, what plays out is based solely on independent imagination; a luxury in our visually force-fed society. As your brain ignites, it conjures up mental images based on personal perception, ultimately deciding whether you will or won’t read a particular work. Once someone projects those images for you, they are hard to shake.
I’m obviously all for promoting literature, but it seems to me that the benefit of the trailer lies within the production/video industry rather than that of the book. Despite my opinion, most of the big houses in the publishing industry appear to be jumping on board. Desperate times call for desperate measures and I suppose any outlet for pushing books is a good one these days. Personally, I can do without them and will continue to rely on solid reviews and literary intuition… all in the comfort of my own mind.
-Post by Megan Shaffer