Oh, goody. A book trailer (yawn)

I've just put a competition on the www.popularscience.co.uk home page, giving away a copy of the excellent James Gleick's new book, The Information. When it had gone live, I was asked if I could add a link to the book trailer video. I did, but with gritted teeth. I really have no time for book trailers.

In the end, a book trailer is an advert for a book. I resent spending my time watching a video for this purpose. It's probably because I'm an old curmudgeon, but I'd much rather have written words than a video. It's all a matter of scanning.

If you give me a written press release on a book, I can scan the whole thing in about 10 seconds. If there's anything interesting I can then home in and read the detail I want. Video is so low tech in this regard. It's so twentieth century and linear. You have to sit through the thing in the order the maker put it in, at the speed they produced it. I want to control the input of media in my brain with this kind of thing.

I'm not saying I would never make a book trailer. I appreciate there are plenty of people for whom video works well, and so I'd be willing to give it a go. (And I even get mild entertainment from the Amazon.de trailer for one of my German books, even though it's not great.) But don't ask me to watch one. I don't have the patience and I resent not having the control.

In case you are interested, here is Gleick's trailer. It could be a good one, but I only got 5 seconds into it and got bored. I mean, it lasts over three minutes! If you like book trailers, why not watch it and give me a precis in the comments. Is it any good?


  1. Bloody annoying music!

    At 3.13, does that say 'Return to OS Choipce Menu'?

  2. And, after saying that the library of Congress houses every book, piece of music, website and tweet, it rounds off by saying that "in February 2010 it housed 160Tb of information", which I believe is possibly a little shy of the exact figure! Although that said, it doesn't actually say that it (the 160Tb) contains, for example, digitised copies of the books - in fact the figure of 160Tb is rather detached from any detail.

    Supplemental thought - aren't books still digitised through basic scanning, i.e., they're not OCRed (still not good enough most likely) and so, if they were storing the books as images of a sort, well, what then for the 160Tb fihure?


Post a Comment