This week’s discussion topic for weekly geeks is one I posted myself due to my overwhelming inability to answer the question “Book trailers, what are they good for?” with anything but “absolutely nothing, say it again” (and yes you are supposed to have the old Frankie Goes To Hollywood song meandering through your head at this point).
I honestly can’t see the point of a book trailer and, in the spirit of the grumpy old woman I am fast becoming, I have ranted at length on their pointlessness. However I thought I should try to be a bit more open-minded and so posed these questions to fellow weekly geek-ers to see if someone could convince me of the value of the book trailer.
Do you watch book trailers?
Nope. Well that’s not true, I must have watched a dozen or so over the past year.
If yes, do you actively seek them out or just watch the ones that get pushed to you in some way?
I’ve only ever watched ones that people have sent me plus a couple for books by authors I know and whose books I had planned to read anyway.
If you don’t watch them, why not?
I don’t ‘get’ the point. A movie trailer shows you portions of the movie in a supposedly enticing way that gets you interested in seeing the movie. In the book world the closest thing to this is an extract or a well-written synopsis. Most book trailers I’ve seen have a few random images that may (or may not) reflect the author’s (or the publishers’) vision of the book (or may on the other hand be a collection of royalty-free images that someone thinks will sell a few books even if they have nothing whatsoever to do with the content).
Have you ever read a book based solely on seeing the trailer? What book was it and what did you like about the trailer?
Where do book trailers come on your list of things that influence you with regards to what books to read (friends’ recommendations, mainstream reviews, bloggers, bookstore promotions, the blurb….)?
My list goes something like…
- blogger reviews by people whose tastes I have come to trust
- my own likes and experience (you’ll note I trust you more than I trust myself)
- mainstream reviews (in particular Graeme Blundell in The Oz)
- “people who bought X also bought Y” recommendations from online bookstores tied with 3 for 2 promotions from local chain stores (I am my father’s daughter and find it virtually impossible to pass up the lure of a bargain even if it isn’t really a bargain because I only really want one of the books on offer)
- recommendations by the crazy people who talk to me on public transport tied with book trailers (and yes I do receive roughly as many of each, crazy people on public transport are strangely attracted to me)
Do you have a favourite book trailer that you’d like to share? What do you like about it?
Well that would be a bit hypocritical wouldn’t it?
What I’d most love to see is some evidence that the things work. I understand that publishers like ’em and often pressure authors into getting them made but on what basis? Is it just a misguided understanding of social media? A numbers game that assumes a percentage of the trailers will ‘go viral’ and sell a bunch of books that would otherwise have sat on the shelves? Or are there statistics somewhere that show book trailers shift books?
I shall be reading people’s thoughts on this topic with interest. Feel free to participate in the Weekly Geeks discussion yourself or leave a comment below, especially if you have an argument I haven’t considered, a trailer that will have me heading for the bookstore or some hard cold facts (always the thing most likely to make me change my mind).