The videos are a mixed bag. There are some good ones, but many have a superficiality and gloss to them that I find grating–more 2am infomercial than, say, Booknotes. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the company that made them, TurnHere, makes similar spots for luxury homes and fitness clubs. But kudos to them for posting the videos to a blog, with comments on.
In the last few months, publishers have been going in some interesting new directions with viral marketing and social media. Some ideas, like the HarperCollins and Random House widgets, make sense. Some, like VP Book Club, don’t.
In this case, the publisher could get as more impact, and pay a lot less, if they pointed a cellphone video camera on one of their authors at a reading. Then again, regular people will do that without prompting or payment. Check out all the YouTube videos of Neil Gaiman reading at book shops.