Now a major motion picture

This post was originally written for the E2BU project. Head over there to see what I’ve been up to.

Tie-in editions for book-to-movie and television adaptations are far from new. Since books have been adapted for the screen, a new paperback or hardcover edition of the book has been released to coincide with the premier. These editions often feature the stars of the movie on the cover, movie slogans, and impossible-to-miss “NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE” stickers (we’ll set the aesthetics of these cover designs aside). And why not capitalize on the movie marketing to re-invigorate book sales? It’s good business.

Now publishers are looking to cash in on the growing enhanced ebook trend with these tie-ins. Both Penguin and Random House have recently announced enhanced ebooks featuring clips from movie and TV adaptations.

The “amplified” iPad app for Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth includes sketches, clips, and original music from the Starz miniseries based on the book. The app will actually update repeatedly while the series airs for a “dynamic user experience” intended to complement both the story and the 8-part miniseries.

Wendelin Van Draanen’s teen romance Flipped is RH’s first enhanced ebook for the children’s market. It includes behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with the author and cast, and eight clips from the upcoming movie. It is available through the Kindle app for the iPhone and iPad.

On the heels of these projects, enkHouse, the digital division of Brown Books Publishing Group, and app developer KiwiTech (started by Aptara co-founder Rakesh Gupta) have announced a partnership to produce TV and movie-based enhanced ebook apps. David Marlett of enkHouse says in the press release, “If a movie and a book hooked up, their love child would be an enhanced ebook.” The companies intend to work with publishers and film and television producers to create enhanced ebooks that support the release of movies and television series.

We’ve yet to see sales data for these book-TV-movie hybrids, and any real numbers are likely to be a long time coming. We know that readers traditionally jump on titles coming-soon-to-a-theater-near-you; we don’t know yet if they’ll be as enthusiastic about ebooks with the movie trailers built right in. Personally, I’m skeptical, but consumers will ultimately decide.

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