The revolution will be televised—at least in publishing circles. With the rise of book videos—short film clips, often styled as mini—movie trailers or faux talk show spots with authors—several companies have emerged to meet publishers' growing desire to create visual promotional material. Two companies, Expanded Books in Los Angeles and the Emeryville, Calif.—based TurnHere, have focused on this niche market, providing production and distribution services for publishers, authors and their books.

Despite initial assumptions that book trailers—which generally run between two and three minutes—would lure consumers to buy books merely through exposure on sites like Google Video and YouTube, some are finding that a more elaborate and focused distribution model is key. That's where Expanded Books and TurnHere are hoping to differentiate themselves.

Expanded Books—Skye Van Raalte-Herzog, who had worked on TV tie-ins at Warner Brothers, started the company with former Friends producer Todd Stevens and actor James Michael Tyler (who played Gunther on that NBC hit)—has dedicated video channels on MSN and Yahoo! in addition to relationships with OverDrive (which distributes content to libraries), NBBC (NBC Universal's video syndicate) and Transit TV (which airs on public transit in six major cities).

TurnHere, best known for establishing the book trailer—dedicated site with Simon & Schuster in June, distributes on such sites as AOL, and MSN, and has just announced new distribution partners GoodReads,, Book Divas and PW.

The company is also hoping to expand its distribution reach with a new widget, a customized video player that will show trailers while offering author bios, book descriptions and retail options. With the widget, Web surfers will be able to buy titles from Amazon, or the publisher. “It's a pretty simple, elegant piece of technology,” explained CEO and founder Brad Inman. “That player goes anywhere... in that it's searchable and findable [online]. So wherever the video appears, you now have all this functionality.”

Of course, many in the industry are finding that getting the clips into the right hands is essential. Jean Marie Kelly, marketing director at HarperCollins's Collins imprint, is among the growing number of publicists who rely on video for TV pitches; she used the trailer Expanded Books did for Baby Proofing Your Marriage to land the book's authors on The Today Show. And she's not alone. Inman, who said, “PR people are using them like crazy,” noted that Chronicle had a similar experience with a trailer TurnHere did for I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids. Publicist Andrea Barrett said the spots were “a major door opener” in garnering feature coverage for the book on The Today Show and The Early Show.

Conversely, Partygirl author Anna David, who had two friends help her create two cheeky clips for her novel, was disappointed after she posted the videos on YouTube and other sites. “I really thought it would help more,” she said of the spots, which generated 600 and 5,000 views each on YouTube. “In the end I would probably guess it got, at most, two or three people to buy the book.”