Book Trailers and Audiobook Sales

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Have you noticed the latest marketing trick for books and audiobooks? Publishers are making trailers. Yup, trailers. Just like those previews you see at the movies before the main event.

Sometimes they’re subtle and well-made. Often, they seem to be scrapped together and idiotic. Is it really necessary to promote the written or spoken word with video?

I know the trend is always toward more technology. I mean, look at the iPad, right? Vooks are integrating video right into the text and many book apps have interactive features built right into them. I’ve seen these things and have pronounced them cool… but unnecessary.

Book Trailer Examples

Book Trailers: AudiobookIn preparation for this entry, I gorged on book trailers. They range from low-budget/indie to big budget/big house trailers. Some were amusing: Going West, for example, was my favorite. I think because it incorporated the book itself. Did it make me want to read the book? Not really. In fact, I’m not even sure what the book is about. I just thought the video was cool. I did not, however, enjoy this movie-like trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Book Trailer Examples With Cameos of Famous People

Some book trailers actually incorporate cameos of famous people. Take this one for example; I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President with Jon Stewart or Zach Galifianakis in the trailer for Lowboy.  Amusing and interesting, but ultimately will they sell books?

Book Trailer: AudiobooksI think the most obnoxious trailer was for Sounds of Murder!. Seriously? This is horrible. Maybe the author didn’t have the money to dump into an expensive trailer… To which I say, “Then don’t do a trailer!” A bad trailer is much worse than not having one at all. Look at this low-budget trailer for I am in the Air Right Now! This is very well done and quite beautiful to watch.

I simply must compare book trailers to movies made from books. They are almost never as good as the book. I understand the compulsion to take advantage of the advances in technology and use them for marketing purposes, but in my opinion, this just isn’t a good fit. It’s jarring and feels all wrong. Books allow us to tap into our imagination and we create images in our minds from the authors’ words.

With book trailers, we are spoon fed information and given preconceived images, such as with the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter video.

Give me a great title, an eye-catching cover, and several reviews. I don’t want to see the trailers…

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