Movies, TV shows boost tradpubs

Movies, TV shows boost tradpubs

Independently published books are making great strides.

Before the Kindle redefined the e-book market (there was one before that, but it wasn’t much) in 2007, bestseller lists were dominated by books published by traditional publishers (tradpubs).

That’s been changing. There is no longer a need for “book factories”. The rules of marketing have changed considerably. Amazon democratizes discovery, putting indie publishers (which may be just an author) on the same playing field as tradpubs.

You know what hasn’t changed?

Media adaptations.

At this point, a major movie studio or TV network just isn’t as likely to make a deal with an indie.

I’m sure the long history has something to do with it, and yes, there may be a bit of the “old company’s club”. In some cases, there may be direct synergy: the publisher and the studio might both have the same entity as a parent.

This was made obvious to me when I checked the

Kindle paid bestsellers list (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Those the are the ones which aren’t free…there is a separate list for that.

I was sort of thinking I might see just indies for the top ten. I guessed that a lot of indies, which are in

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

might dominate.

Nope…but what does are traditionally published books with movie or TV tie-ins.

Half of the top ten fall into that group!

#1: If I Stay (at AmazonSmile*)
by Gayle Forman
4.3 out of 5 stars, 2328 customer reviews
movie: If I Stay (opening August 22)
published by Penguin

#2: The Giver (Giver Quartet Book 1) (at AmazonSmile*)
by Lois Lowry
4.3 stars, 5766 reviews
movie: The Giver (August 15)
publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH)
available through Kindle Unlimited

#3: Outlander (not linked since the publisher blocks text-to-speech access…but there is an omnibus which is not blocked)
by Diana Gabaldon
4.5 stars, 5200 reviews
TV series: Outlander
publisher: Random House

#7: The Fault in Our Stars (at AmazonSmile*)
by John Green
4.7 stars, 29310 customer reviews
movie: The Fault in Our Stars (June 6)

#8: Where She Went (If I Stay Book 2) (at AmazonSmile*)
by Gayle Forman
4.6 stars, 901 reviews
movies: sequel to book adapted above…it’s safe to say that a movie can help all of the books in a series

At this point, the book to TV or movie market seems like a real lifeline for tradpubs.

Amazon does make TV series, and has adapted books for them…but it will be a while before that could become as important to a book’s sales as having a movie in the movie theatres.

I also think it would be hard for Amazon to go the other way…to be the publishers of movie/TV adaptations. I think that’s more likely, though.

For now, it may be a case of “old media” sticking together…

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

** A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books. 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


4 Responses to “Movies, TV shows boost tradpubs”

  1. Zebras Says:

    I know that the idea to turn Outlander into a TV series, was suggested by Ronald Moore’s wife, who was a devoted reader of the books. In fact they had to wait years for the person who had bought the rights to give up the idea of making into a movie and agree to the TV show. I met the author maybe 15 years ago, when I asked how could they fit that entire loooooong book into a movie. I think its shorter than Gone With the Wind, but you didn’t have to explain the Civil War to most audiences, the show will have to cover some interesting times in Scottish history. I’m a little off topic, but I’m a big fan of this series.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      Perceptions of TV shows have changed so much in fifteen years!

      True Blood was certainly part of that, and more recently, Game of Thrones. I would guess that the success of GoT paved the way for Outlander. It used to be that movies were where the respect was…but there are people who argue, not unreasonably, that the best adaptations of literature are happening in long form TV now.

  2. Crystal Says:

    I think some of it is backlist. So far indies haven’t built up a big backlist, and if you are launching a TV series or movie franchise wouldn’t you like a deep backlist to work from?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Crystal!

      Well, most of the books I cited in the post are parts of series, and have been around for a while. If it’s a question of series, though, many indies have a lot of books in a series: some publishers may do ten in one year! 🙂 The issue of longevity is different. That supports the backlist argument for The Giver and Outlander, but not as much for The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay.

      I think that development cycle is getting much shorter, as studios want to connect to things that are hot in social media…and with young adult audiences. When GoT and True Blood started, the series were still being published…so there was both backlist and frontlist involved.

      I think Michael R. Hicks’ In Her Name series

      In Her Name post from me…about five years ago

      has the longevity and the length (and the quality) to make an interesting adaptation from an indie…

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