Friday, August 21, 2009

Who's Influencing Your Next Read?

How do you know what book to read? There are so many books out there these days, many coming from small, independent publishing companies, that readers are being overwhelmed with options. But readers aren’t aware of how their book buying dollars are being influenced.

A new trend for many new books is to create video trailers. It’s an interesting idea - try to market a book, which you read, by using a video, which you watch. Huh? Some of these videos are high production shows complete with filmed footage and actors. But are these really representative of the book?

I heard about Beat the Reaper, by Josh Bazell, because of his amazing website and marketing. His site is an amazing effort, including a great video which definitely piqued my interest. Much to my surprise, although the video did catch the tone of the book, the scenes depicted weren’t even in the book. Very interesting!

So, is this okay? Is this deceptive? Yes, and no.

The book was a decent read, and I enjoyed it. His site is continuing to get him buzz (obviously, since I’m writing about it). And the video did a fun joy of relaying the off-beat attitude of the novel. Of course, the book was much grittier than the video - there wasn’t any blood in the video!

Was I disappointed in the book. No. Did I feel mislead or deceived? Slightly.

My point here isn’t that it was a bad video. My point is that marketing is an effort by authors, publishers and booksellers to sell books. The obligation isn’t to be honest about the book. And, as you can tell by the dust jackets of many older books, it’s been like this forever.

So enjoy the videos about books, but remember, it’s marketing. The old saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” should be revised. “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover or it’s video trailer.”

© Copyright Judy Kane 2009

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