10 April 2008

More substantial than popcorn

RR Donnelley has something like 65,000 employees all over the world, working in businesses as varied as book and magazine printing, market research, and business process outsourcing. For us in the trenches, it would be hard to see Donnelley's full scope and strategy, if it weren't for the company's robust intranet site.
The Inside RRD site prominently features a Fact of the Day which showcases the work of a different business unit every day, and usually lightens it up with a little trivia about the geographic location of the facility in question. For example, Crawfordsville, Indiana, is the birthplace of Ben-Hur author Lew Wallace.
The book Ben-Hur became a blockbuster movie, which brings me to today's Fact of the Day: Laura Kasischke's 2002 novel, The Life Before Her Eyes, is now a movie, and the publisher (Harcourt) used Donnelley to print books intended for sale in theater lobbies where the movie is showing.
It's the latest development in re-envisioning the book as souvenir. I'm surprised somebody didn't think of this 49 years ago, when Ben-Hur was in theaters. It's a win for the publisher, who boosts backlist sales in a neglected special-markets channel, and it's a win for theaters, who get to generate some incremental revenue while they offer patrons something more substantial than popcorn.
Why don't publishers take this to the next level, and partner with cable networks to give subscribers an option to order the book when they watch a movie at home?

If a movie can sell cigars, why not books?

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