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Book Previews: A New Promotion Possibility

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Book Previews: A New Promotion

by Sarah Bolme


Imagine sitting in a move
theater waiting for the feature presentation. As the previews play, one catches
your attention and draws you in. You think, “I’ve got to see this movie,” only
to discover that it’s not a preview for a movie, but a preview for a book. If
you have not yet had this experience, expect it in the near future. Book
previews in digital format are the latest innovative book-marketing technique.


As technology advances, so must
the marketing tools we use to attract consumers’ interest. Book previews
utilize today’s technology to entice people into purchasing a book. These
creative minifilms allow consumers to view a series of pictures with narration
that creates a glimpse into a book. They remind the viewer that books are
movies of the mind.


Played in movie theaters prior to
the feature presentation, as advertisements on cable television, and on
Internet sites, book previews are catching on. Publishers are beginning to
embrace this new book-promotion technique. Even the large publishing houses are
utilizing book previews. HarperCollins has produced close to a
dozen of these trailers since February of this year.


Circle of Seven Productions (<span
specializes in live-action previews for movie theaters and television and has
28 production companies throughout the United States—is one of the
pioneers in this new marketing technique. It created and trademarked the terms
Book Trailer™ (for movie theaters) and Book Teaser™ (for television). (To see
samples, visit www.myspace.com/cosbooktrailers.)


Other producers have jumped on
board with the book-preview concept. Book Stream, Inc. (<span
has developed Bookwraps, which combine an author interview with an author video
and text information about the author’s book

(see samples at <span
Expanded Books™ (www.expandedbooks.com)
produces videos in which the author is interviewed, and has dramatic scenes
play as the author talks. Vidlit™ (<span
) uses comic
book–type graphics with author narration for its videos.


Dave Rose, author of <span
Oscar-winning Hollywood producer, is building kiosks to be placed in bookstores
so that the stores can feature book previews for their customers as they shop.
(See the Godiva video at <span
click on Godiva Video under Features in the menu at the left.) Some publishers
reproduce their book previews on DVDs that they give to bookstore buyers for
promotional purposes. Bookstores can then play the DVDs in-store to promote the
books to their customers.


Producing a book-preview video is
not cheap but can be worth the expense. The video production costs generally
start at $3,000 to $4,000, and costs increase from there depending on the type
of video and the distribution package that accompanies it. The least expensive
book videos are those that have author narration and are made for distribution
over the Internet. Internet distribution includes sites such as MSN Video,
Yahoo!, Google™ Video, iTunes Music Stores, iFilm, and YouTube™. Publishers are
also promoting their books with book-preview videos by sending them to bloggers
for posting on blog sites and distributing them to targeted consumer lists via


One publisher, Tsaba House, had
one of its authors—Christopher Hopper, a musician and camcorder buff with
access to a recording studio—create a Book Trailer for his novel <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>Rise of the Dibor

(you can see it at www.tsabahouse.com/trailers.php<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>). Hopper produced not only his own book preview but
also three previews for other Tsaba House novels. The production costs were
minimal, since he wrote and recorded the background music for the trailer and
used friends as the actors.


Tsaba House discovered that
running book previews in movie theaters before feature presentations was a
cost-effective advertising option. Having four trailers on 32 movie screens for
one month—a total of 1,000 showings—cost about half as much as purchasing
a full-page color ad in one issue of a popular magazine. On the Internet, Tsaba
House has found, its book previews get the most hits on MySpace.com, where
younger generations download them for iPods.


Overall, book previews can be a
cost-effective way to reach a large number of consumers. If you have the money
in your marketing budget or the right connections to produce a book-preview
video, consider this innovative book-marketing technique. It appeals to the
current multimedia population, and it harnesses the Internet for book promotion
in a new way.


Sarah Bolme is the owner of
Crest Publications (www.crestpub.com) and the director of Christian Small
Publishers Association (www.christianpublishers.net). Her newest book, <span
class=8StoneSans>Your Guide to Marketing Books
in the Christian Marketplace
, is available via




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