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Can’t wait to see that movie, or, er…I meant, read that book! October 28, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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In the past few months I have come across a phenomenon seemingly new to the world (although YouTube searches date some from years ago): trailers for books. Speaking obviously to savvy web denizens (as these are never aired on TV), this media-hybrid provokes some interesting questions. First to my mind is how publicists reconcile the trailer version of the book with the trailer version of the movie as so many books are now made into screenplays (or whether this concern even enters their mind).

In my experience, book trailers tend to avoid direct screen shots of characters, perhaps to let the imagination do its job, or perhaps this as a product of cinematic foresight. Such is the case with the trailer for Pynchon’s Inherent Vice (below) which, like the book, rambles on in a stoner’s foggy voice, and numerous others I have seen, such as Meyer’s The Host (which is slated to be turned into a movie), Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes (also below), and the award-winning The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak which has been turned into a movie already.

My second question is: why? Thomas Pynchon has a cult following and his books are highly anticipated by his followers. (And the same could be said for Meyer.) Why then does he, or his publishers, feel the need to create a trailer? Wouldn’t his devoted readers feel more comfortable with the traditional back-of-the-book summary, or New York Times book review?

What do you think?

(nota bene: The web is flooded with “fan-made” trailers as well and this is not to which I refer.)

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1. dataduchess - October 28, 2009

I have noticed this recently as well. A few weeks ago one of the recurring commercials on Hulu was for a new James Patterson book, and another for a new Patricia Cornwell book. I was just as surprised as you are, since I had never seen a commercial for a book. Perhaps it is a sign of suffering in the publishing industry as they are trying hard to drum up hype and interest among readers who are not already devoted followers. Both were just images of the author and the cover art with voiceover description of the story and a few bits of advance praise such as might be found on the back cover.
My guess is that creators of trailers for books and movies based on those books are not particularly concerned with each other. It is a rare case where a movie is already in the works while the book is still being promoted (they can’t all be Harry Potter or Twilight). I’d also be willing to bet that the audience for book trailers is so small that movie trailer creators can pretend the book trailer never happened.

2. First Annual Moby Awards for Book Trailers « The Infomavens' Desktop - May 25, 2010

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