Monday, January 31, 2011

Book Trailers - Why?

I have a confession to make. I’d never watched a book trailer until today. I’ve not really understood the excitement over book trailers, but I decided I needed to see for myself. So, I watched several random book trailers of books I had read, and some I had not read. Book trailers aren’t my thing. To me, when I read a book, the descriptions that I read are what paint a picture in my head of the setting, characters, and events in the story. Painting this picture is a big part of what makes reading so enjoyable. I don’t like going into a book with a preconceived picture in my head of what the characters look like. Or the house, or the forest, or whatever. I know that sometimes a setting is familiar – a place I’ve been or something, and that’s OK. It just helps me re-live my visit to that place. But I much prefer to not have pictures in my brain of the elements of the book before I read it.

This is also the reason I don’t watch the movie before I read the book.  I don’t like to picture the scenes from the movie when I’m reading. I like to draw those pictures myself.

For example, every time I read an Alex Cross (James Patterson) novel, I picture Morgan Freeman as Alex Cross because Morgan Freeman played this character in a couple of movies. Kiss the Girls (the movie) was created 14 years ago, and Morgan Freeman was older than the character was then, so he’s really old now (sorry, I love this actor, but he is aging just like the rest of us.) Now they say Idris Elba is going to play Alex Cross for the next movie. I don’t know if my brain can handle that. I want to figure out what James Patterson wanted Alex Cross to look like—to late for that, in this case.

Another thing I noticed is that some trailers tell me pretty much the entire story of the book.  Why read it? I’m very careful about reading summaries on blog posts, whether written by the blog author or from someplace like Goodreads. I just think many times they give away too much of the plot. I just basically want to know “it’s about angels and there’s some romance,” or, “It’s a funny, cute, light hearted book about coming of age.”  And then, I want to read the parts of the review about what was liked or not liked. 

For me, if it’s a movie, I want to watch the trailer. If it’s a book, I want to read the flap and hopefully read some reviews. Why do you watch book trailers? What am I missing?

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  1. I never watch them either. I find them a little bit tacky, and when I have watched them they have put me off the book.

  2. I completely understand where you are coming from with not wanting to find out too much about the book/movie by reading a review or watching a trailer. I try to watch book trailers to find good ones to use when I perform book talks and some of the local public schools. I like including book trailers to break up the monotony of me just talking.

    Although not every book trailer is well done, some create so much intensity and excitement about a book that it's hard not to share with someone. :-)

  3. I usually enjoy book trailers when I finished reading a book that way I can see potential actors for the characters in the book. But I know what you mean by giving out to mush information I see that all the time.

    I usually don't read the back cover of the book because then I it totally ruins the surprise in the book. ex. (She couldnt believe the Iron king was after her) Now I know the guy that's following her is the Iron King. (don't know if you understood).

    Interesting Post!

  4. I agree wholeheartedly. Especially your point about reading the book first, watching the movie second. In fact, for me, the book is always better. I don't know if I would go as far as saying I don't like trailers though. I'd just have to say after I've created my on preconceived notions and have finished the book, I don't mind watching the trailer. Mainly to get a different perspective.

  5. I agree. I had the same problem when I was reading the Bourne books; I kept picturing Matt Damon. Knowing too much about a book/movie before I read it spoils it for me.

  6. I like watching book trailers when I come across them, but just for fun. I usually have the characters in my mind too but I occasionally like seeing the creativity, because some are pretty good.

  7. You know, this is actually the first time I've watched a trailer too! So I couldn't agree more. I just like to use my imagination!

  8. I've seen a couple book trailers, I don't go searching for them. I usually find them on peoples blogs :) I also don't like watching a movie before I read the book, it makes it extremely difficult, not because I picture the characters as them, but finding out its different than the movie.

    But sometimes book trailers don't show characters or anything and they can be quite nice to watch or to peek someones interest in the book.

  9. I don't know what you're missing, because I'm missing it too. I don't like watching book trailers.

    Sometimes I'll watch one after I've already read the book, but I find I usually don't like them then either. They show a different character than the one I pictured and I'm usually not happy with the actor.

    Book trailers are often really, really poorly done too. There's really some awful acting in book trailers.


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