NPD: Book-to-SVOD Adaptations Don’t Always Boost Book Sales

A page-to-screen adaptation has typically been an easy way to boost a book’s sales. Some readers prefer to read a book before seeing it on screen, others are drawn to the book after they watch the story on screen, but it was widely believed that a movie or TV-show adaptation would reliably elevate a book’s long-term sales.

That predictable pattern is holding for original adaptations from streaming services, now that Netflix and other SVOD services have become mainstream, according to new data from The NPD Group. However, not all page-to-screen releases on streaming services perform the same.

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NPD recently gathered streaming video data for Netflix’s “Bridgerton” and A Wrinkle in Time (Disney+), placing it alongside U.S. print books sales data from NPD BookScan. The side-by-side comparison revealed the effects of streaming video on book sales, providing additional insight into page-to- screen book sales.

“Book sales are generally bolstered by related video content appearing on Netflix and other streaming services, but the release timing, previous box-office movie releases, and other factors also play an important role,” analyst Kristen McLean said in a statement. “In some cases, when a high-profile original adaptation is released by a streaming service, the sales spike for related books is large and immediate. However, the same can’t be said for every show or movie, especially if the project had a previous release in some form.”

Bridgerton on Netflix has become the exemplar for what a streaming-native adaptation can do for a book series, boosting corresponding books sales by the thousands, according to the NPD. Interest in the book has continued, even after series viewing declined, with the TV tie-in book edition outperforming other formats.

The second book in the series, The Viscount Who Loved Me, experienced a delayed increase in sales as people first discovered the series, catching up as the “Bridgerton” SVOD interest spread.

“SVOD has definitely reached the point where it can generate the buzz to support integrated marketing campaigns that increase book sales, but it’s not always the case,” McLean said.

Indeed, the movie version of A Wrinkle in Time first premiered at the box office in February 2018, followed by its debut on Netflix in September 2018. The box office release had a big impact on book sales, pushing it to the top of the best-seller list for kids throughout 2018, but the move to Netflix (now on Disney+) had a far less dramatic impact on additional book sales.

“It is likely that those who were most engaged with A Wrinkle in Time purchased the book alongside the theatrical release during the initial marketing period, and sales and readership for the story were already saturated by the time the show hit Netflix,” McLean said. “Original content tends to have a stronger impact on SVOD viewing and consumer discovery, which pays dividends with book sales.”

Netflix Picks Up Screen Rights to ‘Redwall’ Children’s Book Series

Brian Jacques’ “Redwall” book series will be reimagined on screen in a rights deal between Penguin Random House Children’s U.K. and Netflix.

Chronicling the adventures of the heroic animals that inhabit the forest haven of Redwall Abbey, the “Redwall” books have sold in excess of 30 million copies and have been translated into more than 20 languages.

A feature film based on Jacques’ first book in the series, Redwall, is currently in development with writer Patrick McHale (Over the Garden Wall, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio), as well as an event series based on the character of Martin the Warrior.

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The deal marks the first time that the film rights to the entire book series have been held by the same company and the first time a feature film of any of Jacques’ works will be made.

“We couldn’t be more delighted to announce this deal,” Ben Horslen, fiction publisher, Penguin Random House Children’s, said in a statement. “These perennially popular stories have been etched onto the hearts of millions of readers, and we are thrilled to partner with Netflix to bring those beloved characters on screen for families worldwide to enjoy.”

“Brian often travelled the globe to tell his ‘Redwall’ stories to young audiences, more often than not at their schools,” Alan Ingram, representative of The Redwall Abbey Company (owner of Jacques’ intellectual property), said in a statement. “Brian would have been very happy to see that Netflix shares his joy and desire to bring his stories to life as a new universe of films, series and potentially much more for audiences of all ages to enjoy. We are very excited to embark on this new endeavour with Netflix and Penguin Random House UK.”

Best Buy Widens Q1 Entertainment Sales Decline

Christmas is officially over. The post-winter holiday blues hit Best Buy entertainment sales with a thud.

The nation’s largest consumer electronics retail chain May 23 reported a 12.7% drop in same-store entertainment sales to $424 million for the quarter ended May 4. The business unit includes DVD/Blu-ray Disc movies, video game hardware and software, books, music CDs and computer software.

Entertainment sales declined less than 1% to $504 million in the previous-year period.

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International entertainment sales dropped 14% to $33 million, compared to an 8.3% decline to $41.8 million in the previous-year period.

Overall, Best Buy upped domestic operating income 24.3% to $332 million from $267 million last year. Revenue upped less than 1% to $8.48 billion from $841 billion.

The largest comparable sales growth drivers were appliances, wearables and tablets.

Domestic ecommerce revenue of $1.31 billion increased 14.5% on a comparable basis primarily due to higher average order values and increased traffic. As a percentage of total domestic revenue, online revenue increased to 15.4% versus an increase to 13.6% last year.

On June 11, CEO Hubert Joly transitions to the newly created position of executive chairman. CFO and strategic transformation officer Corie Barry becomes Best Buy’s fifth CEO and first female chief executive.

Joly appears to relish the transition from day-to-day operations to cushy board oversight.

“I am very proud of the seamless transition we have decided to implement, as it reflects positively on our momentum as well as our focus on executive development and succession planning,” Joly said in a statement.

Book Retailer Marketing Companion Titles for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO Original Shows

If you can’t beat subscription streaming, join over-the-top video.

Books-A-Million, the Birmingham, Ala.-based chain of 200 bookstores, has issued a list of companion books to favorite Netflix, Hulu and other streaming titles. This list complements popular TV shows and movie titles, including “You,” “Stranger Things,” Bird Box, “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up,” among others.

“Think of the book as the uncut version of the movie or TV series – there is better character development, the plot is deeper, the blanks are filled in, there may be an alternate ending and there might be a sequel,” Margaret Terwey, senior buyer for Books-A-Million, said in a statement. “That’s why we think the book is better and why we encourage our customers to simultaneously stream and read.”

Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds: The First Official Stranger Things Novel ($28) by Gwenda Bond is a brand-new prequel providing readers with secrets and the background of Eleven’s mother.

Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders ($14.99) inspired the Amazon Prime series, which sets main character Hercule Poirot on the trail of an alphabetical serial killer.

You ($17) by Caroline Kepnes prompted the popular Netflix series about a young man who meets a woman and becomes obsessed with being her perfect partner, removing any obstacles in his way.

Josh Malerman’s Bird Box ($15.99) is a hit Netflix film (80 million viewers) about a post-apocalyptic world in which a monster lives, and anyone who sees the mysterious force is driven to deadly violence.

Decluttering guru and Netflix star Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up ($18.99) has revolutionized homes and lives across the world, and fanatics can go even further with her book featuring step-by-step illustrations.

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From the host of the television series and podcast “MeatEater,” The Meateater Fish and Game Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for Every Hunter and Angler ($35) by Steven Rinella is a guide to cooking wild game, featuring more than 100 new recipes.

Now on Netflix, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking ($37.50) by Samin Nosrat and Wendy MacNaughton is an ambitious new approach to cooking by mastering the use of the four title elements.

The Game of Thrones prequel by George R. R. Martin, Fire and Blood – 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones ($35), helps readers dive deeper into the history of the Targaryens.

Available in paperback in April 2019, The One ($15.99) by John Marrs explores a company that promises to match people up with their soulmates via DNA testing.

Finally, fans of the movies that are streaming on Hulu and anyone anticipating the upcoming Amazon Prime Video original series will want The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings: Deluxe Pocket Boxed Set ($49.95), a four-volume set containing The Hobbit and the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings.