By Chris Artis
The money that’s being poured into online advertising has brought new innovations to the field of online advertising — everything from publishers launching full-fledged web and video sites, such as Penguin’s The Publisher’s Office, to publishers putting out iPhone apps for individual books, such as the app for Howard Dean’s Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform, which publisher Chelsea Green credits with selling 300 copies of the book in just the three days this past August.
At Random House, the company has gone beyond mere YouTube “book trailers” and has now begun embedding promotional videos into some of their banner ad campaigns, such as this summer’s campaign for the novel Fragment by Warren Fahy which ran on Scifi.com.
Dwight Garner, daily book critic for the New York Times, is the author of a forthcoming book about the history of book advertising, Read Me: A Century of Classic American Book Advertisements (November, Ecco/HarperCollins). He says, “In terms of forcefulness and creativity and wit, there are still some good ads being made, but you see fewer of them than you used to. There’s a sameness to a lot of what you see now,” he says. “The heyday was really the 1960s and 70s. It’s been great fun to watch the promotional video clips publishers and others have been making in the last few years; that’s really where the action is.”
The field of book trailers and videos has become competitive enough that it has inspired its own awards — The Bookies — which just started taking submissions for the competition this week.