Monday, January 20, 2014

Is Video Still a Viable Marketing Solution for Books?

Video marketing continues to be a growth area in marketing for many industries and publishing is no exception. Video is often chosen as a vehicle to promote ebooks, but has the flexibility and advantage of easy penetration to a multitude of outreach avenues that can offer a precise audience or extend to a public forum of general interest.

Statistics – More Devices  

Pew Research Center reports that one-fifth of American adults (21%) report they have read an e-book in the past year. An estimated 43% of Americans age 16 and older say they read an e-book in the past year. The same Pew Research article states that there are four times more people reading now than the in the previous two years. This article was written in 2012 and those statistics speak to that time frame.

According to a recent article by USA Today last year's ebook growth was 43% which is down compared to previous years, but still claims 20% of all book sales. Publisher's Weekly released an article about how the slower growth is actually a “mixed blessing” with views from top industry professionals being shared, none of which includes an indication of surprise.

More and more tablets are being purchased and though dedicated e-readers continue to be popular with readers, more tablets are consumed which can divide the attention of the device owner with music, movies, games and apps. But, the potential of outreach using those devices, whether they are being primarily used for reading, is still an opportunity for outreach.

Outreach- Deep and Wide

 It can go “deep” and it can go “wide”.

Since more and more online sites encourage the use of video either to help with sales, initiating or holding customer interest or SEO, the outreach is in continuous flux, growing, changing and offering more opportunities. Even if you don't feel a particular book could benefit from video now, the changing landscape of video distribution and growth in reader communities or overall entertainment communities can change in a brief amount of time causing video marketing to be the ideal solution for future projects.

We go “deep” with video distribution by dialing down to a very specific type of audience or audiences. Where book video is concerned we look to reader communities including specific community websites such as GoodReads, Red Room, Library Thing, etc. and even going deeper to find specific genre groups or sites such as GodTube, International Thriller Writers Organization, so we dial into genres or specific themes/topics. We also look to reach specific audience that may not be directly linked to a reader community, but present a specific opportunity with certain books, for example Teacher Tube, Mom blogs, pet sites and so on. We reach out to librarians via OverDrive which sends book videos to thousands of libraries across the US and we have special outreach to book bloggers who sign up specifically for book video.

By reaching out to more specific audiences we are able to match interest with story.

We go “wide” by sending the book video to public areas such as social media (i.e. Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest), news aggregation outlets such as Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon. You play the numbers by casting out your hook, which is your video, to the largest audiences we can find. Since no one buys a book they don't know exists this gives the title an opportunity reach the attention of thousands, if not millions, of people, helping to create awareness for the book, series and/or author.

Reaching NEW Venues and Opportunities

Book Trailers have been around for over 10 years and as more and more online opportunities presented venues more book video was created and more readers started looking for them, even expecting them. Though book videos may seem like old news those in the US there's an ever-growing interest outside of the US and other countries still find them to be a novelty.

COS Productions created a book trailer for author Karen Rose and her UK publisher Headline in 2013 and trailer was honored in the top ten marketing campaigns of 2013 in the UK with a second place spot behind Dr. Dre but ahead of Duck Dynasty. A book video campaign gathered the interest of both the public and professionals which pit it up against movies, television and music and the book video was named #2 in the list.

Reaching out to foreign markets to help pitch the book, market the book or increase sales has proven to be a successful venue for many authors. More and more authors from other countries contact us asking to utilize a video that has already been created.

Sylvia Day's Bared to You video was a hit in multiple languages and so was the book video-

Korean version
American version

Other opportunities include invitations to book clubs, teachers, media/publicity and pay-for advertising both on and off line.


As long as technology continues to evolve, making it easier for people to connect with what interests them most there will be a demand for video. People are visual by nature. They are mobile and they fill their time engaging with mobile devices. Video marketing has as much growth potential as technology. Content is still a hot commodity and book video as a way to reach out visually with a story synopsis is easy, fast and fun.