March 30, 2009

Book Trailers

Are you familiar with book trailers? I've seen them start popping up in the last year or so on the Internet and, like most things, some are really good and some are kind of terrible.

If you haven't seen any book trailers, they're pretty much exactly what you'd expect - a little video introducing the main storyline of a book, just like a movie trailer does. Some of them are made by fans and some are made professionally by the author's marketing group.

A few examples:

This is the book trailer for "The Hunger Games" and I think it's . . . not very good. And I loved "The Hunger Games."

This one, on the other hand, for "Love, Stargirl," is excellent, I think:

I think the idea isn't bad - it could be handy to send along to someone if you'd recommended the book to them. But they are also often poorly done and ruin your personal images of the characters and locations. I prefer the ones that don't include faces.

A few others if you want to spend 10 minutes on YouTube:
The September Sisters
A Curse Dark as Gold

What do you think? Love them? Hate them? Never heard of them?


  1. I find the concept of book trailers very interesting. One of the greatest things about books is that you, as the reader, can imagine the characters however you want to. I think book trailers sometimes try to put a "face" to the main characters, and because they are usually kind of silly and obviously cheaply done, it just comes off as being ridiculous. Like the trailers for the Maximum Ride books? Incredibly silly. I say leave the trailers for when (if) the book becomes a movie...

  2. I have heard of them, and I'm not sure what I think. It's strange to watch a visual advertisement for something that is intended to be imagined. It's like we're being tricked into reading a book by thinking we'll get a movie, and not even a very good one, at that.

    I watched the trailers for The Hunger Games and Graceling, and I found them both distasteful. The first undersold the plot, and the second was laughable with its low production value. If I had seen these before reading them, I probably wouldn't have bothered.

  3. Only heard of them recently--saw one for Wintergirls which was okay, but not great. I agree that Hunger Games wasn't all that good. Oh well. Personally, I'm not sure trailers are the way to go, since I hear mostly about books from people or reviews...but I guess they could work.

  4. You're right the trailer for Love Stargirl was really good. So good, in fact, that it made me feel bad for not liking the book. Maybe if I'd seen the trailer first I would have had a better impression.

  5. I'm not sold on them. I think a book trailer depersonalizes a book recommendation. I think they make the story flat or they build it into something it just isn't. I watched the Wintergirls ones and was underwhelmed.

    Maybe it's just my cynical side, but book trailers just strike me as too commercial and corporate and big industry versus, well, personal enjoyment/fulfillment/attachment. A book isn't a movie nor should it be.

  6. If there's no movie footage available it's kind of hard to make a convincing trailer. But I'll give fake fan Katsa props, she looked pretty good. But where were Po's tattoos and his nineteen rings? Geez, it's like they haven't even read the book. I'm going to have to write them one of my Helpful Suggestions Letters.

    I can't help wondering where that chick got her hands on a horse, a suit of armor, a battle axe, and an old dude willing to ride around with an eye patch on while she runs around a field randomly snapping necks while sporting last year's RennFair costume.

  7. I have only seen a couple and they were not that great so I don't usually seek them out. THey seem a bit unnecessary.

  8. Never heard of them! They seem kind of unnecessary to me, although now I really want to read that Stargirl book. So maybe they are necessary!

  9. I had only seen one. It made me decide to not read the book - which everyone said was a wonderful book. (Can't remember the title right now.) I think that movie trailers often do the same thing for me in that they usually turn me off the movie. If I thought the trailers would actually get people to read, fine. Unless, someone is specifically looking for a book to read, I don't see the point. The trailers just become another (bad) advertisement.

  10. PS Just reread my comment. Please excuse the punctuation errors. :(

  11. I had never heard of them before! But I guess YOU are the expert ;)

  12. I loved "Stargirl" and "Love, Stargirl." Glad you did too :)

  13. I am not really sold on them. I've seen a couple that I've really enjoyed, but for the most part I really prefer imagining the characters myself.

    However, being an avid reader, the clips probably aren't aimed at me anyway...

  14. Students at my school could benefit from this just because they have trouble visualizing a book so far out of their world! I liked the videos for Love, Stargirl and Gone.
    I can see many of them coming out cheesy as well.

  15. I really like book trailers but only for books that I've already read. If I haven't read it then they don't do anything for me.

  16. aaaahhhh! i sooo loved the hunger games! i can't wait until the next one is out :) (thanks for helping alison out for book club)

  17. I went to the YART meeting at 8 am on Thursday and they had booktalks for TAYSHAS and Lone Star booklists. (Did you go to that one? I didn't see you there.) They did normal "live" booktalks, but also had quite a few book trailers. They were hit and miss, but I was pretty impressed with some of them. The committee said they would post them on the website but I can't find it, it's probably not up yet.

    I think trailers or teasers can be great if they 1) don't use live-action (because then it ALWAYS comes across as incredibly cheesy) and 2) don't use images of people, because then it kind of ruins the imagination. But for creating atmosphere and enticing us a bit, the librarians on the committees did a great job - they generally revealed much less than you'd expect to see in a movie trailer. Most of them were a combination of images, text, and music to create the appropriate mood. In that way they don't really prevent you from using your imagination any more than showing the cover and reading a summary would.


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