Publishing powerhouse Simon & Schuster launched today an ambitious program to create and distribute short-form online videos of authors.   The videos have been created by TurnHere, the Internet video studio/distribution company based in Emeryville, California.

Clips of 40 authors have been produced and many more are planned.  The videos have the breezy, informal feel that has become the TurnHere style.  The distribution channels are varied:  Clips will be seen on the publisher’s page, author sites, retail sites and on video sharing sites including YouTube and a new dedicated book site on TurnHere.  Simon & Schuster’s parent company CBS will become involved too.

Above is my interview with Sue Fleming, who heads online marketing for Simon & Schuster.

Sure publishers have produced promotional videos for a few top-selling authors, but the magnitude and sophistication of this is project demands our attention.  This a ground-breaking development in the way corporations embrace online video to market their products.  Book publishers are among the most savvy of marketers and we should all watch these moves closely.

Below is a moving video of author Jeannette Walls telling about her acclaimed memoir, The Glass Castle.  Jeannette, a longtime gossip columnist on the New York scene, recalls how she stumbled upon her homeless mother in Manhattan. Incredible but true — and touching.

— Andy Plesser