The Power of Hollywood Over Book Sales


card-endersHollywood is a money-making machine.

It infiltrates every aspect of our information tools. The internet. Television. Radio waves like Sirius XM and NPR. Hollywood has become such an integral part of our culture that we barely blink an eye when

Last weekend, Ender’s Game opened in movie theaters. It is an adaptation of one of the most important and bestselling science fiction novels of all time, written by Orson Scott Card. Despite Card’s personal opinions and people threatening to boycott—I know more than a few of them—the movie opened this weekend at #1 in the box office with a haul of $28 million. Not bad. Of course, when Thor: The Dark World opens this coming weekend, Ender’s Game will being the inevitable exit to Blu-ray release.

But for right now, it is on top. It is being featured on television. It is being discussed on the radio. Ads highlighting the movie are everywhere online. Ender’s Game is the “it” thing at the moment.

Orson Scott Card is gleefully happy about this. But not for reasons you might think. Card makes no money off of the movie. He was given a sum almost ten years go with no percentage on movie ticket sales. So why is he gleefully happy?

The true power that Hollywood has on adapting a novel is in book sales. All of the publicity that the movie gains also infiltrates the book industry where book sales skyrocket. At this very moment, Ender’s Game is #11 in overall book sales on Amazon, even trumping A Dance of Dragons which is at #16. The top three spots on the Amazon Science Fiction & Fantasy list are Orson Scott Card books and six books populate the top twenty spots. If you enter any bookstore, Ender’s Game is prominently displayed for the holiday season. Smart.

You can see where Card is making his money right now and why having Hollywood adapt one’s book or series is so important. New readers are trying Ender’s Game for the first time; former readers are returning to it, either rereading it or buying its numerous sequels.

When it comes to book selling, Hollywood can change the fortunes of a writer. A writer like Orson Scott Card isn’t hurting for money but this new influx of equity ensures he would never have to write again if he didn’t want to.

We all want faithful adaptations that are amazingly done. We have had a few so far. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. And with new projects possibly on the horizon like The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Otherland by Tad Williams, The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks, and several others, Hollywood will be helping drive book sales for the publishing industry.

Let’s hope so! I want a healthy book industry, one with increasing readers. If it takes Hollywood to help with that mission, then so be it!

Ender’s Game is in theaters now.

Go read a book!