Cinematic Book Trailers are quite definitely no longer a novelty item. Any reader who has pulled their eyes off of the printed page long enough to browse the internet at any time in the past four or five years will have encountered them. That being said – a large portion of the public may not know how popular these videos have become.
Here’s a list of the top twelve book trailers on Youtube, sorted by view count. It’s worth noting that Youtube is not the only place these trailers reside – and any number of views listed here is a very conservative minimum, especially for newer trailers that have started to be uploaded directly to Facebook.
2. Simon Elkeles‘ “Rules of Attraction” – 2,403,000 Views
This is another classic early cinematic book trailer – for a very popular YA high school romance. Like your average high schooler, this trailer is still figuring things out about itself – it doesn’t know if it’s for a movie or a book, and is much longer than necessary. Some iffy production value can be forgiven by the overall ambition of the project, and the fans really seemed to like it. (The view count for this trailer was a composite of two versions found on Youtube.)
3. Katie Alender’s “From Bad to Cursed” – 1,374,000 Views
Katie Alender’s follow up book trailer operates with a very similar model to her first – it too utilizes a young starlet with a strong fan base (Zendaya) and focuses heavily on narrative exposition. Another solid video.
4. Thug Kitchen’s “Official Cookbook” – 1,167,000 Views
This is a newer book trailer, entering the world in September 2014, and it’s not what I would call safe for work. If you’re not afraid of a little colorful language, I’d suggest you watch what a million other viewers obviously thought was a pretty funny book trailer. I’d have to agree with them.
5. Dan and Phil‘s “The Amazing Book Is Not On Fire” – 1,075,000 Views
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this book trailer is that it was released just five days ago, and it’s already number five on this list. This is rather different than your average book trailer – as the video doesn’t focus on exposition. It instead makes a visual spectacle of another literary promotional device – the book cover reveal. The production value of the trailer is top notch, and the combination of two different promotional tools has really paid off. Who’s to know where this book trailer will sit on this list, even in another week’s time?
6. Rhonda Byrne’s “The Power” – 1,011,000 Views
This is another early book trailer, but the truly epic nature of the project and its reliance on vast amounts of stock footage makes it rather like the BBC’s Planet Earth of book trailers. The viewer is visually assaulted with hundreds of different images, but the topic of the book is left vague. This prompts the viewer to go out and do some research on the book – and makes a great case for the value of an intriguing, mysterious book trailer.
7. Michelle Aguilar’s “Becoming Fearless” – 931,000 Views
While the trailer itself doesn’t much hold up to the typical cinematic fare of today’s standard, Aguilar’s trailer for Becoming Fearless must have resonated with audiences in 2011 enough to give it the seven spot on our list. I’d have suggested a direct address from Aguilar speaking directly to camera about her self help book, but not much we can do now!
8. Suzanne Collin’s “Catching Fire” – 887,000 Views
This book trailer is little more than a stylized blurb review funnel with a bit of a dystopian aesthetic thrown in as an afterthought, but given the tremendous success of Collins’ series, it’s not surprising that it racked up quite a few views. I’d have loved to see some preliminary videography by the team developing the movie series – but this trailer came out in 2009.
9. Jacqueline Wilson’s “Lily Alone” – 887,000 Views
This may be the most cinematic book trailer on the whole list – the production value is solid and all of the actors give great performances. Overall project seems very much like a short film inspired by the book than a tool used to sell books, which viewers appreciate.
10. James Dashner’s “The Maze Runner” – 692,000 Views
This book trailer, though very cinematic, maybe could have benefited by being a minute shorter. That being said, the mood it captures is tense and compelling, and serves the incredibly popular series well.
11. Veronica Roth’s “Insurgent” – 624,000 Views
Veronica Roth’s Insurgent book trailer relies on extreme closeups and keeps a level of distance from the characters in a way that allows for most of the action to carry out in the imagination of the viewer. This is a common theme in many contemporary book trailers – and is a smart choice for authors who operate within the more fantastical genres.
12. Lane Smith’s “It’s A Book” – 597,000 Views
This book trailer is pretty cute, which is a big plus. It’s also very funny, and has a clear, comic, message that is largely in favor of books. There are many more book trailers in the 500,000 view range, but I thought this was was a good trailer to end on. Enjoy!