Recognition Triggers (Part I)

LeHat“Sometimes, when you have seen a movie, you may want to buy the book…” These were the first lines that I read when I was gifted an illustrated copy of Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, when I was still a young child. Black Beauty is a beautiful novel, yet what I intend to focus is the relationship between books and movies.

books-moviesThere is little doubt that a movie adaptation of a book is a surefire way to generate additional sales. It is not uncommon for the sales of a book to see an upward surge after a movie has been released. Likewise, the same motion picture enjoys a pre-interest and recognition buzz, thus providing the marketers with additional campaign material.

In 2010, the printed books were bolstered by the release of books like Mockingjay and a domino effect from movie sustained titles, such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the Twilight Saga. Also, the film adaptation of the Hunger Games had been announced in March 2009, which may or may not have contributed to the initial sales for Mockingjay.

The relationship between movies and books brings forth many benefits for different parties. Some instances can be taken up, such as brand formation and the subsequent identification of the players involved with the brand. Think of Tom Hanks as Professor Robert Langdon of Dan Brown’s works. Or Heath Ledger as The Joker. The publishers and booksellers benefit massively from this, as the booksellers begin to restock the title and promote it along with the existing film publicity. The publishers release the movie tie-in editions, typically in both trade paperbacks and mass-market formats. So, there is usually a boom for most of the parties.

Bourne Set

Jason Bourne by Robert Ludlum: 1980 edition; 2000s edition; movie tie-in edition featuring Matt Damon; current edition featuring expansion of universe by Eric Van Lustbader.

Today, there is an increased overlap between the content platforms and the media forms. Few content forms are exclusive to one type of form, as there is always a business desire to create a brand and milk more from it. Movies are a proven trigger, but what about games, apps, TV shows? Can there be a consistent symbiotic relationship or a crossover from books to games or vice-versa? The relationship between books and the other forms of content is murky, at the best. I’ll be exploring this further in the next part of the series.

Image Credits: The Bourne Wiki, Wine Press Publishing/WarrenAdler

Link Of Interest: Goodreads (Books-Movies)


The Publishing Landscape in 5 Years Time (Part II)

LeHatLike the title says. If you haven’t read the first part, you can do so here. Okay, so down to brass tacks.

AppsMobileI actually think that the digital transition is already coming to an end. The facts aren’t disagreeable, for instance, the number of smartphone users in 2012 surpassed the one billion mark, the size of the tablet market being predicted to increase to 357 million users worldwide by 2016 and a new estimate forecasting that Android apps could be the first to hit the vaunted 1 million mark in June 2013. All this points to a different kind of environment that we now live in – a digitally oriented one at that.

Will eBooks totally shut down the printed word? The short term answer is no. The long term answer is yes, but it will take a long time. Until society gains access to a cheap, flexible and multidimensional tablet and it becomes the norm to do run of the mill activities with tablets, the printed word will always find a place in people’s minds. But what is also happening is that gradual, yet imperceptible phasing out of printed books is occurring, slowly, but surely.

PricingAbout pricing and eBooks, well, what has happened has happened, although parts of it have resembled a self-inflicted Shakespearean tragedy. However, the Big Six (soon 5) have more or less embraced the agency pricing model – where the publishers set the price and the retailers get a cut from it. The wholesaler model, which was the norm earlier, consisted of the publishers selling the books to the retailer at a fixed price, and the retailer set the final consumer price. Still, the irony’s not lost.

piracyPiracy. Ah, a controversial topic indeed. The easiest way to describe the potential impact that piracy has on eBooks is that a publisher can run a huge loss through a simple P2P share or a torrent started by a single person. However, a product can be only truly pirated if it is downloaded illegally – just because it is there – does not mean an automatic loss on the ledger. And as Mark Bide often reiterated in his truly inspirational lectures, obscurity is a greater threat than piracy. If you can’t get noticed, you are a complete zero. A study conducted by Brian O’Leary also  found proof that for a publisher – O’Reilly and Thomas Nelson, sales were spurred by pirated books. Yet, another study by Attributor painted a gloomy picture – that ebook piracy is on the rise. But this is somewhat co-relative – after all if there are so many tablet and smartphone sales, it’s also reasonable to expect a bump in the overall piracy levels.

Translations and formerly overlooked nations (factors were weak markets, Steig-Larrson-Millennium-Seriesunfavorable laws and lack of freedom) are becoming more important on publishers agendas. Stieg Larrson’s Millennium series, which was originally in Swedish, saw a wave of Scandinavian novels and penetrations. Today, the esteemed London Book Fair of 2013 has Turkey as its main target of focus.

Lastly, there was a major merge of publishers – with Random House and Penguin joining forces. But, not to be outdone, Amazon pulled off a really savvy business deal, which resulted in a Twitter outburst, with its acquisition of Goodreads. If a Big Six member had acquired Goodreads, instant advantage, but unfortunately the episode again demonstrates the failings of publishers and their tendency to treat consumers like one night stands. Still, there’s always hope.


Well, that’s about it. The first series of The Publishing Hat. Thanks for reading!

Image Credits: GFK TechTalk, SWLearning, and Mixtus Media