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Book Trailers: Do They Work?

I was browsing through my feed reader the other day and came across two new book trailers that I thought were pretty cool:

Both cool trailers, right? But both books were already on my radar and I've actually already read one of them, so they didn't make me discover something new.

I've noticed that when I mention book trailers when talking with my non-librarian, non-blogger friends, they don't know what I'm talking about. They always seem surprised that book trailers are out there. It seems as though the people that know about book trailers are the people that avid readers (some of who are librarians) who are already involved in the book community online. I know some librarians use book trailers with their teens. We've posted them to our library teen blog and sometimes get a response. I've used book trailers when I've done school visits and used them as part of my booktalks.

It seems that for book trailers to work, they have to have a high budget feel to them and look really cool. They can't just be a slideshow of words and pictures-I don't have the patience to sit through trailers like that I know many teens that feel the same. My teens seem to like animated trailers or trailers that are live action and have the feel of a movie trailer. (Simone Elkeles's book trailers are wonderful for this and sell those books wonderfully!)

So I'm wondering, what do you think of book trailers? Do you know about them? Do your non-reader friends know about them? If you're a librarian, do your teens know about book trailers? Do you like them or not? And how do you use them in your library or on your blog?


  1. I'm very blah on book trailers. They haven't enhanced my book talks as a librarian and honestly, I don't need a book trailer to sell me a book personally. I'm just not really a fan of them in general, which is odd because I do love movie trailers. But I think, unless there is a big name attached to the trailer, big author name, it's hard to get anyone outside the established reading community interested.

  2. They could be useful promotional tools leading up to an author visit. Schools that have the technology could show them in the days leading up to an author appearance.

  3. I do a series of booktalks with eighth graders at my school and I always devote one of them to book trailers. I tell them that advertising for books was pretty non-existent when I was growing up and how cool I think these are. They love seeing the book trailers. Most of the teachers in my school have the kids make video book reports like trailers based off this talk.

  4. Sarah-I think they can work, but for established readers. There have been some book trailers where I was aware of the book, but then the trailer made me more interested in reading it. I wish they were marketed more-I'd love to see book trailers on TV or in movie theaters more.

    Ryan-Great idea! I think it would be a great way to get readers excited.

    Jana-I think it depends on the age group too. I've noticed book trailers seem towork better with the younger kids. For older readers, they want the ones like a movie trailer.

  5. When I worked as a librarian people had no ideawhat I was talking about when I mentioned book trailers. I do personally love them and they are sometimes the deciding factor when I'm deciding to buy a book. I should use them more on my blog because there are some great ones out there.

  6. I use book trailers a lot when visiting the local middle school for book talks. They enjoy hearing me talk but the teacher and the students also like mixing things up a bit. The kids love them and I have noticed that if I can find a good one, the kids respond to it and will come into the library and request that book.

  7. I use book trailers when I do book talks in my high school. I do agree that they usually need to be pretty high quality to work, although there is a fan-made trailer for "Purple Heart" that uses an Eminem song, and I always have multiple guys wanting the book afterwards.

    I feel like when I sprinkle them through my book talk, it breaks up the "me" time. You are right about the knowledge of trailers being limited to the readers, but I've found that giving the non-readers I have worked with a visual of the book can snag them.

  8. i don't really feel like book trailers do anything for me. i mean i'm a reader, so i don't need to 'see' my book, i want to 'read' it, and read about it. i'm also one of those crazy stubborn weirdos that refuses to read any book that has a commercial on TV, no matter how good it looks.

  9. I do Trailer Tuesday with my 7th graders each week, and we watch several trailer. Many many times after watching a trailer kids will want the book. So in my mind they do work. I can't book talk every book well enough to get them interested especially if I haven't read it yet!

    I will say tho - that every once n a while a trailer does the opposite and turns them off especially if it's really cheesy!

    For my own reading - I don't need them, but i think for kids who won't pick up a book, showing them a trailer might grab them more than the book just sitting there.

  10. Just curious: Have you guys encountered good trailers for bad books?

  11. I honestly don't spend much time watching book trailers. I do like Maggie Steifvater's because I know she creates them herself and they are genuinely unique. They are more art than promotion (though they do achieve the latter well). I'd be curious to know how they impact potential teen readers....are they more into them than I am?

  12. Those are two trailers are amazing.

    I don't seek out book trailers, but only watch them if I stumble upon them. A good one will stimulate my interest in a book, but not always.

    I don't think my students know about them.


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