Creating Book Trailers

A trailer for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce.
The trailer was created by Jarod Lambert and his son Charles (age 6).

What are book trailers?

Chance and Lesesne (2012) define a book trailer as "a visual representation of a book. In one way book trailers are similar to a movie trailer; they are designed to interest a reader in a particular book" (27). Of book trailers, Heidi Spencer says, "It's not a summary. It's a teaser" (Springen, 2012, 28). And the Digital Booktalk web site ( relates the following:

Commercial conceptualizations of video book trailers are valid and have their place as they serve a valid and specific function: to sell specific books. But it is not what we envisioned ten years ago when we invented the concept and coined the term Digital Booktalk. Our vision of book trailers has always been to create opportunities for students to re-enact the main storyline of books they read, using live video clips, pictures, music, voice-overs and other digital tools. The original intent was to provide a means for reluctant and striving readers who had trouble visualizing what they were being asked to read and help them make better choices with selecting books from reading lists. (Emphasis in the original.)

Given the varying purposes assigned to book trailers, we will focus on the methodology of creating trailers. Each purpose assigned to trailers has value. There is utility in the book trailer as a means of advertising books in the school library. We want to find ways to connect students to engaging texts. We can share examples of book trailers on our library web sites, and provide examples of how students and teachers can engage in the process of creating book trailers. As we engage in this process of creating, teaching, and advertising, it is useful to keep in mind Bates's notion that "[s]chool libraries today aren't just about the physical walls and hardcopies on the shelves. They are about virtual spaces, and meeting the needs and wants of students in a medium they are constantly plugged into" (2012, 76).

What about using book trailers instructionally?

Talk of book trailers tends toward publisher, teacher, and librarian creation of trailers as a means of advertising books to various audiences. Advertisement and connecting students with books are important purposes, but I want to focus on book trailers as a tool in the classroom. To be sure, there are web sites that share student created book trailers. One example is Book Trailers for Readers. My goal is to have students creating book trailers for a variety of purposes and using a variety of tools. This site provides access to a variety of resources students and teachers can use to create book trailers.

Sample Book Trailers

From Carol Johnson at Buckalew Elementary
Trailers saved as PDFs from PowerPoint files.

From Third Grade Students at Coulson Tough Elementary (K-6)

The Spider and The Fly by Tony DiTerlizzi

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendack

From Sites on the Web

  • Among others, includes book trailers created by students.
  • Most trailers on this site are through YouTube.
  • Includes links to additional sites with examples.
  • These are hosted by Dr. Mark Geary at Dakota State University.
  • Most trailers on this page are downloadable as .wmv files.

Resources for Creating Book Trailers

Image Resources
Audio Resources
Flickr (Creative Commons search)


Vimeo Music Store (includes free music)

Purple Planet Royalty Free Music

Incompetech Royalty Free Music

Video Resources
Copyright Resources
Vimeo: Creative Commons Licensed Videos
U.S. Copyright Office: Fair Use Exception

Creative Commons
iPad Book Trailer Creation
iMovie for Book Trailers

Book Trailer Creation Tools


iPad app  used to create movies. This is the tool used in the librarian staff development session for creating book trailers. Videos created using iMovie can be uploaded to a Vimeo account (amond others) for online hosting. Current price: $4.99.

Presentation app. During the staff development session, we will use it to create "blank" images and to create images that include only text. Current price: $9.99.
Use the Garage Band app to create your own music. Music can be converted to .mp3 and can be used within iMovie and other apps/programs. You don't have to worry about copyright concerns because you created the music. Current price: $4.99.

The Vimeo app can be used as a free alternative to iMovie. Videos created using this app can be uploaded to a Vimeo account. Current price: free.

Vimeo (the web site) is a video hosting service similar to YouTube. Videos can be uploaded directly from iMovie and the Vimeo app to the Vimeo web site. Current price: free; premium and pro options available for a fee.

The Animoto app can be used to create and upload videos to the Animoto web site. Current price: free.

The Animoto web site can be used to create videos. Videos created using Animoto are based on still images. It is not possible to upload video clips into a trailer created using Animoto. Many book trailers found on the web are created using this tool. Current price: free; subscription options are available.

This is downloadable software for creating video. Photo Story is similar to Animoto in the kinds of files that can be included in the video. This software will not allow you to include video clips in your book trailer. The software must be installed on a computer.

This is downloadable software for creating video. Movie Maker is similar to iMovie in the kinds of riles you can include in your book trailer. It will allow you to include both still images and video clips. The software must be installed on a computer.


Bates, N. (2012). Weaving a virtual story — Creating book trailers 101. Knowledge Quest, 20(2), 72-76.
Chance, R., & Lesesne, T. (2012). Rethinking reading promotion: Old school meets technology. Teacher Librarian, 39(5), 26-28.
Springen, K. (2012). The big tease: Trailers are a terrific way to hook kids on books. School Library Journal, 28-31.


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