Book Publishers Jump on Online Video Bandwagon

Booksvideos.tv launched in May to promote Simon & Schuster’s authors via videos filmed and distributed by TurnHere. Now the Web video company has signed on additional publishers to promote their work, including Bantam Dell, Chronicle, Disney (Hyperion), Doubleday Broadway, Hachette Book Group, Loyola Press, MacMillan, Thomas Nelson and W.W. Norton.

To date, the Booksvideos.tv site along with its branded YouTube channel has had 584,068 streams of author videos watched by consumers — approximately 75 to 80 percent of Simon & Schuster authors, according to Brad Inman, CEO of TurnHere, based in Emeryville, CA. The remainder was contributed by the newly joined publishers. In addition to watching videos, viewers can leave comments or make a copy of the video player to be shared on their own blogs and Web sites.

“Booksvideos.tv is an immersion of social media blogging platform with video. So people can come there to view the books and comment,” he said in an interview on Monday. One book has as many as 70 comments. “Often people write in as if they are directly talking to the author,” he said.

Putting authors in-front of a camera to discuss their work isn’t a new concept for publishers. In fact, Amazon plans to offer online video interviews featuring authors as part of its e-reader rollout.

But the ability to offer online author video interviews with minimal hassle and widespread distribution was an obvious draw to TurnHere’s site for Louise Brockett, vice president and director of publicity for independent book publisher W.W. Norton & Company.

“One thing that book publicists have always tried to do was get authors on television to communicate directly with the audience,” she said. “It’s an enhancement on what was only possible on television in fortunate circumstances, until the present.”

Norton is currently running video interviews of Michael Lewis for his “Blind Side” novel, and of Ann Hood’s “The Knitting Circle,” and is working on a similar video for “Stiff : The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” author Mary Roach’s upcoming book titled “Bonk,” according to Brockett.

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