Readers' Advisory

Flash Booktalk Week: Why Flash Booktalks?

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One of my favorite tools that I’ve developed as a youth services librarian is the flash booktalk. A flash booktalk is exactly what it sounds like: a short teaser to get readers interested in a book delivered in one minute give or take a little time. This week we are going to talk about why I think flash booktalks are so great, how to write them, how to put together a 30 Books in 30 Minutes program, and I’ll share some of my favorite flash booktalks.

Why do flash booktalks?

Attention Grabbing

If most movie trailers seem to be about two and half minutes and regular commercials are even shorter why wouldn’t we follow a pattern that is obviously effective? The whole point of booktalking is to sell the book. I can’t imagine giving a four or five minute booktalk, although I’m sure it works for some people.

Instructive to Write

Writing a flash booktalk means drilling down to the essence of a book. You really need to think about the story and decide what the appeal factors are for your audience. Flash booktalks also require an economy of words. I found short annotations and twitter-like taglines much easier to write when I’d already thought about the core of the book. They can also be easily adapted as shelf-talkers.

Easy to Remember

We all know there is nothing more boring then watching someone read off a piece of paper. Flash booktalks are really easy to memorize, so you can make eye contact with your audience and focus on delivery. I’ll share my strategy for handling dozens of booktalks in Wednesday’s post.

Useful One on One

I often use the flash booktalks that I’ve memorized, or bits and pieces of them, in the stacks to hand sell books to patrons. They are also useful for recommending books to co-workers. Another benefit of having already thought about what sells the book.

Easy to Integrate into Other Programs

Since they basically amount to commercial breaks it is super easy to integrate them into other programs. Let’s say you were doing a theme party for a certain book or series with multiple activities, why not do one or two flash booktalks for similar books between each activity?



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