Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A bookstore is making movies that will feature a book they sell (but do not publish) and the movie will be used by other bookstores. Words like progressive, creative, innovative, and unusual come to mind. And the big question in my mind is: Where’s the money trail?

The first screening for this Powell’s Books initiative will be the middle of June at BookExpo America in New York. More than 50 bookstores across the country are scheduled to show a 23-minute video that focuses on Ian McEwan’s new novel On Chesil Beach. The price of admission will be a copy of the book or a gift card of the same value—which will not even begin to pay the costs for creating the film. The films are intended to be as entertaining as possible and will include author interview; footage from his or her home town and the setting in the book; comments from critiques, peers, and fans; and more.

One of the things that intrigues me about this is the fact that it’s a bookstore, rather than a publisher, who is doing this. And it’s not a chain that will be using it just in their stores across the country. It seems to me that Powell’s is taking a new initiative (and the accompanying risks) that serves the industry more than it serves themselves.


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