Friday, April 10, 2009

Return to Book Promotion Mountain

Publishers Weekly recently covered an odd item that I thought I'd share. But first: a riddle. What's (arguably) the best book promotion opportunity imaginable? Answer: a movie.

If a movie based on a book actually makes it into theaters -- which, of course, is a long, long way from selling rights to a film company -- then millions of film-goers learn about your book and, potentially, become book buyers. Right?

Right. Except when the book's publisher goes belly-up before the movie's release, and the book is out of print.

Believe it or not, that's what happened with Disney's new movie, "Race to Witch Mountain." You may remember Paris Hilton's aunt, Kim Richards, who played a child named Tia in the vintage (well, 1970s) movie "Escape to Witch Mountain" and its sequels. That Witch Mountain series was based on a book (unbeknownst to me until now -- and, yes, shame on me for missing this!) called Escape to Witch Mountain that was written by Alexander Key and was published by Westminster Press in 1968. Westminster Press, alas, is no longer among the publishers of this world, and the book was out of print -- groan! -- when Disney released "Race to Witch Mountain."

So here comes the best book promotion opportunity imaginable . . . and the book that could reap the substantially rewards is out of print.

Enter Sourcebooks which bought the rights to the book, Escape to Witch Mountain, and will launch a paperback version of the book at the same time as Disney releases its "Race to Witch Mountain" DVD. No one knows (or, at least, the folks at PW don't know) when that will be.

But . . . at least the book that inspired the movies will be back in print, and at least Sourcebooks and readers -- and, I hope, either Alexander Rey himself or his estate (I couldn't turn up any biographical information on Mr. Rey during a quick online search, although it looks as though another of his books, The Forgotten Door, was published as recently as 1988) -- can benefit from the return of the Witch Mountain fervor.

Ah, 1970s-era Disney movies. Kim Richards, Ike Eisenmann, Eddie Albert, Bill Bixby, Jodie Foster, Don Knotts . . . don't get me going on film nostalgia this Friday morning. Just don't.