Book Trailers On The Red Carpet

As both content and marketing techniques become medium neutral, authors are experimenting with surprising ways to promote their books.

The inaugural 2010 Moby Awards honor video book trailers. Invented circa 2002, these vignettes may slowly replace the book tour and book club.

Host Dennis Johnson of Brooklyn book publisher Melville Books said the ceremony was “a joke that went too far.” His tuxedo and the event’s grand stage at the posh Griffin lounge in the meatpacking district said as much. The bookish crowd were also slightly unaccustomed to the red-carpet treatment that comes with cinema. And while the inaugural trophies were grey whales (not Moby’s actual species: sperm whale), he promised they’d get it right and mount them with a plaque next year. The key phrase? Next year. With the increasing popularity of video book trailers, its continued momentum seems inevitable.

No characters. No storyline. The 30-second videos function less as plot explanations, and more as topic frameworks — often taking on the feel of a teaser. After all, readers still want to create the protagonists and contexts in their minds. So, specifics to the wayside, and provoking ideas upfront. Think: the paragraph set-ups pasted on art gallery walls introducing an exhibit.

Unattached to rules, a mishmash of mediums take shape, including: stop motion sketches, home video, interviews, and big-budget cinema.

It’s interesting to watch as both content and marketing techniques become medium neutral, and we wonder, what comes next?

Watch the trailer for Eating Animals below:

Moby Awards

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