While listening to This American Life on NPR, VidLit founder Liz Dubelman thought it’d be interesting to watch video alongside the stories. With that notion in mind, she went to work on an animation for her own short story, “Craziest.” The popularity that ensued gave her the idea to produce flash animations for literary works on a larger scale along with sound designer Paca Thomas. Vidlit was born in September 2004. It might seem intuitively counterproductive to use videos to sell books, but it’s entertaining and it works.

Usually around two to four minutes long, Vidlits can best be explained as music videos for books. All genres are featured from a number of different publishers. There’s everything from The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit and Bill Maher’s New Rules to When Love Calls You Better Answer and Bone, each one adding an exciting new element to traditional reading. The animation style varies from book to book, but most videos incorporate text and have a certain slideshow quality that works well with the stories they enliven by not distracting too much from the author’s words. Each story’s animation is more of an accent to than a reimagining of the text. There are also interviews with authors and a dedicated kid’s section. If you like the VidLit you’re watching and want to purchase the book, just click on the link below the video.

Parodying the idyllic childhood characters and their original cookie-cutter world, Yiddish with Dick and Jane provides a great look at the complications of modern-day life and how Yiddish fits in.

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