Book Trailers - Movies for Literacy

Frequently Asked Questions

This page represents the beginning of a website of short movies (generally 30 to 45 seconds) designed to increase student motivation to READ! Below are a couple of samples. Click for Late Elementary BookTrailers and Adolescent BookTrailers to see those (currently under construction) listings.

Want to contribute some booktrailers of your own favorite books? Click here to find out HOW to make them, then email or send them to:



This site has been created to encourage students to read. It may also help to get your book(s) a wider readership, and provides an opportunity for students to become creatively engaged with interpreting a book. That having been said, if you wish to have any title removed, or wish to add your own booktrailer, I will make every effort to accommodate you. Author/Publisher contributions will be specially noted! I will also include a link to your website, if you wish.

I may ask for a verification of identity.

Media Specialists - I am not a media specialist, and there are doubtlessly better ways to do this site. I am open to suggestions, but somewhat time constrained. Please feel free to point out errors, including mis-categorized books.
Your help will make this a better site for kids!


Fair Use

Fair use

The following is a paraphrase of the original fair use article, available at
I have edited it to make it more relevant to the specific issue of booktrailers, or videos used to support interest in reading books.

This is a very important exception to the general rule that copyrighted material cannot be used without consent. It is particularly significant to the news media, which is in the business of conveying information, some of it based on copyrighted work.

Federal copyright law states that an individual other than the copyright owner can use a copyrighted work without permission if the use would be considered a "fair use." The Fair Use Doctrine is, in effect, a compromise. It represents a balance by lawmakers of the need to encourage scientific and cultural progress by making sure creators get credit for what they do against society's need for readily accessible information. Recognizing the inherent conflict in these two goals, fair use strives to find a reasonable middle ground. In the case of the booktrailers, it is desirable for students to give an acknowledgement of the book's author. While it might also be useful to acknowledge the publisher and illustrator, the time constraints (30 to 45 seconds) involved make this prohibitive. We want students to get to the book!

Whether or not the use of a copyrighted work by a non-owner would be considered a "fair use" is not always an easy call. There is no black and white rule. Nevertheless, as one of the country's leading experts on copyright law has said: "Ninety-nine times out of a hundred a scholar who wants to quote a reasonable portion of a copyrighted work can do so without obtaining permission as long as the quotation does not constitute a substitute for the original." Booktrailers are NOT a substitute for the original, they should lead the viewer back to the paper format.

Courts look at four factors to determine if the use of a copyrighted work is a fair use:

  • The purpose and character of the use. Non-commercial uses for purposes like news reporting, teaching, criticism or commentary are more likely to be fair. Booktrailers in this sense are non-commercial, although it is our hope and desire that this website HELPS authors and publishers sell books.
  • The nature of the copyrighted work. Uses of works containing mostly factual material like maps or biographies are more likely to be fair than uses of highly creative and original works like novels and cartoons. Most of the booktrailers will contain at least the cover and an inside page or two. Students are encouraged to create original art to represent authors' concepts.
  • How much of the original work is used. No more of the work than what is necessary may be used fairly. The test is both quantitative (how many words of a 200,000 word book are reproduced?) and qualitative (using the "core" or "heart" of a work -- no matter how small -- is less likely to be a fair use). Booktrailers must avoid giving away the climax of the book to incite reader interest.
  • The effect of the use on the commercial value of the copyrighted work. This is the most important factor. If consumers are likely to buy the use as a substitute for the original, it probably will not qualify as a fair use. Two points here. 1. No one is making money off of this site, unless it is the authors and publishers. 2. Anyone feeling that this site may be impacting their book sales in a negative fashion (certainly not our intention) may ask for the work to be removed.

Fair use therefore authorizes the use of limited amounts of copyrighted works for purposes like news reporting and education so long as the use does not destroy the commercial value of the copyrighted work. The booktrailer website is for educational purposes: to encourage students to read!


Please contact Mark Geary at if you have any questions.