In A World ... Where Books Are Hyped Like Movies Long a staple of the film industry, book trailers are now standard operating procedure in the world of publishing. Posted on YouTube and on publisher and retail websites, these tailor-made short video clips are designed to generate buzz about books.

In A World ... Where Books Are Hyped Like Movies

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

Trailers can build a buzz for a movie but what can they do for books? Well, as Jesse Baker reports, the publishing industry is trying to find out.

JESSE BAKER: This is not a film coming to a theater near you, but it sure sounds like it.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOOK TRAILER)

U: I'm getting no every other call, all the odd-numbered ones starting with this one. Obvious really.

U: And his wife is the boss of Pam.

U: She's one of those women that burns calories just by breathing. I should be jealous, really, but I can't be. I must be a very nice person; chubby but nice.

BAKER: It's not promoting a movie, it's promoting Matt Beaumont's novel "Small World." Books trailers are tailored-made film shorts to lure potential readers into bookstores.

BLOCK: Movie trailers work for movies. Maybe I'll do something for books.

BAKER: That's Sheila Clover. Clover can trace her roots in the book trailer industry back to 2002. Then, she was an aspiring writer, looking for some way to make her book stand out. She thought, why not a book trailer?

BLOCK: When I first Googled the term back in 2002, it wasn't there. You know, there was nothing there, which is funny if you Google it now.

BAKER: Trailers are not meant to be cinematic versions of the book they advertise. More, they're an attempt to catch your eye in hopes you'll remember the author's name or at least the title of their book.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOOK TRAILER)

BLOCK: My name is Seth Greenland, and I've written a new novel called "Shining City." It's set in Los Angeles, so naturally it begins in a hot tub with a pimp and three hookers.

BAKER: Lisa Gallagher is a senior vice president and publisher at William Morrow.

BLOCK: We're trying to put these videos in front of potential readers in the hope that they will be interested enough to pick up the book. And we really can't forget that's the ultimate goal.

BAKER: So while you might see some of the more highly produced samples in a theater before a movie, you're most likely to find these trailers online.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOOK TRAILER)

U: I, Root Karbunkulus, am invited to participate in the first magisterial treasure quest of DreAmm.

BAKER: Again, Lisa Gallagher.

BLOCK: It means that our videos have to be compelling. They can't be - you know, they can't be poorly produced, otherwise there's no real point to doing them.

BAKER: But not all trailers are compelling and not all are authorized by authors or publishing companies. This trailer was made for a school project about "The Catcher in the Rye."

(SOUNDBITE OF BOOK TRAILER)

U: See, that's the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they're not much to look at, or even if they're sort of stupid, you always fall half in love with them.

BAKER: Some trailers use a dramatic voiceover, but most rely on pulsating music and pretty fonts to push the books. Author Alexandra Sokoloff says she'll never try to market another book again without a trailer.

BLOCK: There's a certain audience - like the paranormal romance audience - expects a trailer at this point. They've seen them from their favorite authors, and they expect to have a trailer so they can check out the book.

BAKER: It's not only publishing companies and high school English teachers that are taking this seriously. Last year, Oscar-nominated director Alfonso Cuaron made a trailer for Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine."

(SOUNDBITE OF BOOK TRAILER)

U: And the best way to stay oriented, to resist shock, is to know what is happening to you and why.

BAKER: For NPR News, I'm Jesse Baker.

BLOCK: And you can watch these book trailers at npr.org.

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