Friday, July 9, 2010

Watch before reading

There are only so many press releases and book reviews you can read about an upcoming novel before you fall asleep on your keyboard, so I love that the literary world is finally taking advantage of technology, and adapting other art medium's publicity platforms (i.e. trailers) for their own use. This is just one example of how the publishing industry is reinventing itself, not only after being crippled by the GFC, but after years of declining business thanks to the internet and the film and television industry.

Now I've done some reading around and the general consensus from what I can see is that bibliophiles as a group don't seem to like this move. But the trailers aren't for those of us who spend more money each week on books than we do on food. They know we'll buy the books, that we'll read the reviews in the paper or simply come across them browsing through bookstores.

These trailers target those who aren't as involved in the literary world as we are, it targets the people who sit on the line when it comes to reading; maybe they enjoy the books given to them on their birthday or the ones they pick up in the airport bookstore, and they may even await the release of a favourite author's new novel. What they don't do is investigate bookstores and seek out the gems, they don't get past the current IT author whose face is plastered across book displays to find those unique, barely known authors like Gary Shteyngart. What they do do is surf the net, searching youtube for the latest laugh or controversy... and who knows, maybe they will come across the book trailer shown above, and maybe they laugh, and maybe they decide to seek out that book.

Movie trailers work by leaving audiences wanting to know how the pieces shown fit together, what is the bigger picture that'll come from what they've just seen. While book trailers obviously don't have the visual snatches available to them that movies do, they utilise the one thing the literary industry has in spades...creativity. Rather than simply illustrating the plot of the novel, book trailers twist the standard trailer form and create sketches that emphasise a certain theme or aspect of the novel visually, creating a refreshing, different method of publicity far separated from the otherwise centuries old forms of advertising previously adopted by the publishing industry. Right now these trailers are limited (in Australia anyway) to the interwebs, but who knows, maybe they'll soon be played amongst the movie trailers in the cinema or between breaks in a TV show.


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