The book tour is a time-honored trial for authors to pound the pavement and push their wares. Who would have thought that it would actually make compelling viewing … and spur entrepreneurs to build communities devoted entirely to the printed word. The on-demand generation now has author interviews at their fingertips with BookVideos.tv, and soon to launch BookTour.com (a sophomore start-up effort by Wired Magazine editor and author of The Long Tail, Chris Anderson.)
Anderson, however will be playing catch up with BooksVideo.tv – a team effort by publishing giant Simon and Schuster and digital media production company TurnHere. While making promotional videos for authors and books is nothing new, the scale and community aspirations for BooksVideo.tv is novel. It adds video to existing bibliophile-specific community sites like LibraryThing, Shelfari, and GoodReads. Now more authors can connect with readers beyond the handful that make the pages of the New York Times Book Review or get a coveted Oprah’s Book Club sticker.
BooksVideo.tv already has a blossoming comments section. “People love to talk about reading almost as much as they love to read,” Sue Fleming, head of Simon and Schuster’s online marketing, told Beet.tv in an interview.
The more interesting videos avoid simply rehashing talk show sound bites, skipping the hellos and getting straight to one facet of the author’s work. Seeing author Kathy Reichs wearing a lab coat in the forensic science laboratory (embedded above) where she and her main character Temperance Brennan work connects the author to the literature in a way you don’t get to see elsewhere. Where else can you see an author show you the actual unidentified skeleton that was the basis for a new novel?
BooksVideo.tv hopes to build its own community around the high quality video content. Likewise, most of the mirrored content on BookVideo’s YouTube channel has double digit views. However, all of the content is embeddable and has the potential to wind its way across the intertubes, and if they keep the videos short, snappy, and interesting some might truly “go viral.” Will these video result in actual sales… now that is a $64,000 dollar question.