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Branding by Video

Editor’s note: This post also appears on our host site, Publishing Trends

It turns out Simon & Schuster, who has been gaining press attention with the release of its “Behind the Book” video series, isn’t the only publishing company that’s been building its video cache. We’ve decided to gather a few together for viewing.

Here’s a little background in case you missed it: S&S uploaded 5 videos of book editors giving details on how certain titles came to be as a start to their series last week. S&S Executive VP and Chief Digital Officer Ellie Hischhorn was quoted in the press release as saying that the series is “offering new and revealing information that can enhance and inform the reading experience” since “apart from the author, nobody knows a book as well as its editor.”

Digital Book World’s Jeremy Greenfield noted about the videos, “In the book publishing world, authors have traditionally been the brand: Everyone wants to buy the new James Patterson title, not necessarily the latest release from his publisher, Hachette.” So from here, we take that building a brand would ultimately lead to readers trusting a company for its judgment in acquiring great books, instead of relying on established authors or comparative titles to sell the book. But it doesn’t make sense for the average reader to buy something with this in mind, since publishers have such a wide variety of styles and genres.

Along with building a brand for the publisher as a whole instead of a specific author, he added that “this series of videos is another small way that publishers are saying to authors — and readers — that they add value.”

We talked to Nellie Kurtzman, co-founder and CEO of the video content agency Kid & the Wolf, which primarily creates book trailers, to get a little insight into a publishing marketer’s approach to videos. Before founding Kid & the Wolf, Kurtzman was the VP, Marketing of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Kurtzman said of the Simon & Schuster videos, “It tells the behind the scenes, what people don’t know,” confirming that the videos prove the publishers’ worth to the public by bringing awareness to what publishers actually do for books.

Here are a few videos we found from publishing houses for comparison on how they’re going about (possibly) building their brand. First here’s one of the S&S ‘Behind the Book’ videos:

Random House released a few videos titled “Inside Random House” The one below is one of the more recent, posted in February 2014.   It isn’t promoting a specific title, but shows how Random House makes a manuscript into a book. Overall, it seems to have had a similar message for the world as Simon & Schuster: publishers take on a prominent role in the book production process and care about what they produce.

HarperCollins is branding its own channels, titled “HCTV to provide behind the scenes content for book fans, including taxi cab literary confessions, funny video mini-series based on books and author interviews via comedian and HC author host Erin Gorham. The channel’s content, especially the YA section, shows dedication and personality in creating content that has HarperCollins’s name on it, but the exact purpose is unclear.  The videos tend to be funny, but don’t always mention specific titles. These videos are a month or more old.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux paired up with GQ Magazine to create “The Original Series,” which is a collection of 13 short videos of author events. Each video shows a Q&A with an author and a musician, facilitated by a host. Clearly, FSG is focusing more on author promotion than FSG-as-a-company promotion. There are 13 videos in the series, the newest of which is from a month ago.

Here is Soho Press’s author-editor combo.  Former editor (and current drummer of the band The NationalBryan Devendorf and author Garth Stein, who worked together on How Evan Broke His Head, sat down to have a casual interview four months ago.  It’s less about the books and a little more of a catching up between two friends, revealing a great relationship between publisher and published.

In general, the videos only seem to show up on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the publisher’s own website -although not necessarily all of these platforms every time.  For example, ‘Behind the Book’ isn’t on Facebook yet and Soho Press doesn’t have their videos on their website. There was no sign of the videos on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or Goodreads, even when they are author specific.  The Amazon description for How Evan Broke His Head mentioned the video, but there is no link to it.

Kurtzman likened the publishers gaining brand recognition beyond that of their authors to the idea of movies being watched for their production companies. “The public is never going to buy books based on a brand” because “people buy books based on content and authors.”

One Trackback

  1. By Kurtzman, Nellie | Writing for Children and Teens on August 4, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    […] 2014: […]

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