Books from Media: Published in the Real World

If you are a fan of the shows Parks and Rec, Jane the Virgin, or Younger, then you’ve probably heard of the books that were published by characters in those shows. But are you aware that those books have been brought into the real world?

These television shows have each produced fictional works based in the unique world of each show and written by the shows’ characters. These works are often created by ghostwriters, or with contributions from the shows’ creators, producers, and directors.

The facade is taken quite seriously. If you venture to the publishers’ websites, the authors and their bios are all consistent with the shows’ characters. Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America from the show Parks and Rec, published by BBC Books (an imprint of Penguin Random House), has even included “reviews” from the fictional characters of the show, including Andy Dwyer, Chris Traeger, and Tom Haverford.

Snow Falling, the novel by Jane Gloriana Villanueva, the main character from Jane the Virgin, was published by Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. The second TV-to-book adaption for the publisher was Marriage Vacation, a novel written by Pauline Brooks, a character from the show Younger which follows the New York publishing scene.

One of the most successful TV-to-book series is from the show Castle. It follows a crime writer, Richard Castle, who shadows a detective in New York and writes books based on their experiences. Seven of the novels from the show produced by The Hachette Group have made the New York Times Best Seller List and have a huge following.

These aren’t the only examples by a long shot. For instance, cookbooks based on television and movie series have recently grown in popularity, including Insight Editions’s Supernatural: The Official Cookbook and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook, as well as Titan’s, Firefly: The Big Damn Cookbook.

With so many forms of media competing for the public’s attention, it seems publishers have hopped on the trend of accompanying popular digital productions. Editor of Marriage Vacation, Christine Pride, describes the relationship as one of gaining readers who may not read otherwise and come to these books via their televisions. She states, “In this competitive media landscape, those are the kind of edges that we’re trying to leverage.” Ghostwriter of Marriage Vacation, Jo Piazza, explains that these kinds of tie-ins are very important to the book industry. Sarah Berger, contributor to CNBC, concludes that this phenomena “is a case of life imitating art, and this type of immersive experience could soon be the new norm.”

The success and popularity of this concept have proven it to be a way to reach a new audience, or rather a pre-established one, and it is working. Sales of published works based on or taken directly from shows and movies have been extremely high, and while the publishing industry struggles with predicting book sales, producing books this way can be a safer bet.

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