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Author Mary Jo Foley in the News

Popcorn and Book Videos

PopcornAs a fan of both Freakonomics and The Undercover Economist I'm convinced I need to read an upcoming title called Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies.  I enjoy these books that talk about hidden trends in the economy and everyday products.

The author, Richard McKenzie, also created a video trailer for the book which I've embedded below.  I'm seeing more and more authors and publishers investing in promotional videos for their books.  This one is pretty simple but it's extremely effective; now that I've watched it I feel like I know more about the author and his book than if I would have simply read through a book description on Amazon, for example.

I plan to read Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies and will post a follow-up review when I'm finished.


Franchise Whale

Really enjoyed it, I wanted to click out and
you kept pulling me back in! Many thanks
and keep up the great work!

Ellen Gerstein

No offense to Popcorn Guy, but that video put me to sleep. That's not an example of video I would use to inspire a customer to buy a book. Sure, seeing food at the beginning drew me in (mmmm...popcorn) but the message was lost in the dry delivery. What was the point of the book? Why do I want to buy it? Dunno. ZZZZZ.

If you want an example of how video can be done right in the promotion of a book, look no further than Gary Vaynerchuk's Wine Library TV ( He's not spending a fortune on his videos, but he's engaging and personal, and his book is climbing the charts at Amazon.

Joe Wikert

*Finally*, someone took the time to help me make another point on this! Ellen, I'm betting a dollar that you never read Freakonomics or The Undercover Economist, right? In fact, since I know a bit about you, I'm betting that even if you *did* read either of those you would have been bored to tears.

On the other hand, I read both and loved them immensely, which is why I found McKenzie's video so effective. Sure, the guy isn't some polished actor with a lot of sizzle (*any* sizzle?!) in his message. But the book won't be all glitzy either, and I'm looking for facts and figures, not sizzle, in a book like this.

FWIW, you're a wine fan and I'm not. I couldn't imagine watching even one of those videos you linked to, probably for the exact same reason why McKenzie's bored you.

My point? Different strokes for different folks. I wouldn't expect any one video for any one book to appeal to everyone, but I'll bet McKenzie's video will help sell a few copies of his book to Freakonomics fans.

Ellen Gerstein

Wrong on half that - I did read Freakonomics, but mostly because Jay Lesandrini kept talking about it. I found it interesting, but more in an "eat your beets" kind of way. Not something I would seek out for myself, but I felt healthier after I read it.

I'm not saying that every video has to be glitzy. Far from it. Our marketing group spend a lot of time last year meeting with fancy vendors who create elaborate video offerings on books, to the tune of $5-10K for video. Guess what? We never did any of them. The process seemed too overwhelming, expensive, and daunting.

But it shouldn't be. We can do these simply, easily and cheaply. Or better yet, our authors can do them themselves. It's something I know we have to dust off and get moving on.

Meantime, glass of Cabernet for you, Joe?

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