Here's a cool little service I stumbled upon this evening (thanks to the Big Bad Book Blog). Bookwrap Central features video clips of authors talking about their book, what's unique about it, what inspired them, etc.
I like the idea but I have a hard time envisioning success as a standalone service. If I'm looking to buy a book online I go right to the vendor (e.g., Amazon, B&N, etc.) No matter how compelling the video content might be I'd almost never think to visit Bookwrap first. And while you can buy directly off the Bookwrap site, they'll probably never have the breadth and depth of Amazon, for example.
Wouldn't this be a cool new feature for the online bookseller sites though? I'd almost always click on a video or two as I'm making a purchase decision on an Amazon page, for example. If you're annoyed by that sort of thing you would simply avoid clicking on the play button, but I'd get a lot of use out of it.
Widgets represent another excellent opportunity for this service. I use the LibraryThing widget on my blog but the covers are fairly static objects on the screen. I'd love to see LibraryThing integrate a video feature like this so that you could click on one of those covers and a small video screen would pop up with the author telling the story behind the book.
Amazon already has some video on their site. Some publishers have been able to include video on some of the books on Amazon and since Amazon now has video customer reviews as an option, there is nothing preventing authors from uploading video except the fear that people might take offense at them using the Customer Review area as another way to talk about their book.
Posted by: Timothy Fish | November 07, 2007 at 11:05 PM
Joe - this is really interesting. Journalists are being confronted with an expectation that they will now be more responsible for marketing their stories, as bloggers do. Now book authors may be front and center in the book buying experience, trying to illustrate to potential buyers why their book is so special. In many ways, this can be a good thing, because authors are so knowledgable and passionate about their work. In other ways, it may affect the power of publishers, in the same way that musicians are now reaching their audience more directly - without it being essential to go through the marketing dept at a record label. However, many writers have no desire to be marketers, and prefer the solitude of their work. Personally, I would love to see author interviews when researching what book to buy.
Posted by: Dan Blank | November 08, 2007 at 09:20 AM
Timothy, you're right that Amazon has a bit of video on their site and I think I've even stumbled across one or two clips over the past few months. But what I'm talking about is something that's consistently integrated across all product pages. You'd always find it in the same location and probably start looking for it after you've watched a few. The problem is that every author/publisher wouldn't create this sort of content, but shame on them if they don't. After all, it seems every additional bit of content you can add to an Amazon product page has a favorable impact on the book's sales rate.
Posted by: Joe Wikert | November 08, 2007 at 05:47 PM