Monday, June 16, 2008

Statistics on Book Trailers

An article in The Wall Street Journal (Watch This Book by Lauren Mechling) had the following statistics about book trailers:

There is scant evidence, however, that the average book trailer actually has much impact on book sales. Despite Doubleday's recent video upload for the self-help book "We Plan, God Laughs," by Sherre Hirsch, the book has sold only about 3,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70% of U.S. book sales. And even though Jami Attenberg's trailer for her novel "The Kept Man" is reminiscent of Miranda July's short films, only 3,000 copies of Ms. Attenberg's recent book have sold. Most trailers cost about $2,000 to produce.

"In some cases, we don't even expect it to increase sales at all," says Carolyn K. Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, which has doubled its investment in video content since it started making trailers last year.

1 comment:

COS Productions said...

There are other statistics that cover a wider range of videos that are better than what WSJ found. The WSJ article concentrated on limited stats and the illusion that marketing trends compromise literary dignity.

What the article didn't say was that trailers are popular with young people online. That schools now use them to promote reading and have students making them in class.

It also doesn't address that trailers are not solely for direct sales. Name awareness, branding and cross-genre promotion are other uses for book video.

It didn't really talk much about the difference between and author interview and a true book trailer (there is a difference).

It's nice to be able to look at a video and know how many people took the time to click on it and watch it. You don't get to know how many people actually watched a tv commercial, listened to a radio spot or read the USA Today ad before putting it at the bottom of a bird cage. Since you don't know those numbers you can fantasize that those marketing endeavors working.

A great marketing quote is "Half of all marketing works. You just don't know what half."

YouTube is not a good gauge for how a video is doing. It is just the gauge most people go to because they don't know better. I've seen a terrible trailer get over 100,000 views because it had a lot of sex in it and in the description. Did the book do well? I didn't see it on any lists. And the author wasn't bragging about it. My guess is that it did not do well.

100,000 views on YouTube is not equal to 10,000 views on GoodReads or BN Studio. The strength of those targeted views absolutely outrank those of YouTube. People keep looking to quantify, not qualify views. That's a mistake.

But beyond the whole "view" thing book video offers a variety of opportunities that print or tv just can't offer. A trailer will be working 24/7 for years. A trailer can be played over and over, shared and engaging. They also allow books to be where they couldn't go before and in ways that attract a new generation of readers.

Do you have to sell your dignity to participate? I can only speak for myself when I say that MY dignity isn't that fragile.