Do Movie Adaptations Impact Book Sales?

In a culture that has valued literature for centuries, adapting books for the big screen is becoming equally revered. We can now find quality stories in both TV shows and movies from streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. With recent adaptations such as Little Women, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, All the Bright Places, Little Fires Everywhere, and Big Little Lies, it’s no surprise that book lovers are elated: avid readers are often pleasantly surprised when their favorite books are adapted into a movie or TV series.

When I discussed this idea with friends and colleagues, most were turned off by the new movie tie-in covers. One friend, an avid reader who has read the entire Stephen King collection, even remarked, “I don’t want to see an actor and associate them with a character before I’ve read a single sentence.” There is another type of reader that we should consider—one who reads when something entices them, like when they see a movie tie-in cover while perusing an airport bookstore. The book isn’t something they were necessarily looking for, but they might be intrigued knowing it has been adapted to the big screen. In my personal experience, there are books I never knew existed until the movie came up in conversation, which led me to buy the book and see the movie.

Are these book adaptations impacting book sales? According to Huffington Post’s report on the 2012 Nielson Bookscan, the top selling books for 2011 were: One Day, The Help, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In some instances, books have unequivocal results from their adaptations, such as the Harry Potter series. The first movie was released in 1997, but the book itself still sold more than three million copies between 2008 and 2010.

Forbes reported that “film adaptations of books gross 44 percent more at the UK box office, and a full 53 percent more worldwide than films from original screenplays, according to research commissioned by the Publisher’s Association and produced by Frontier Economics. The report also found that 43 percent of the top twenty highest-grossing films in the UK from 2007–2016 were book-based and another 9 percent were based on comic books.”

Is this by design? While there is no doubt in my mind that Hollywood has a hand in the book publishing industry, I’m typically excited to see a story I love on the big screen. While I often have the opportunity to read a book and then watch the movie, I’ve never seen an independent book adapted to the big screen; that’s not to say it doesn’t exist, but the same marketing methods are either not used or executed enough to bring to my attention.

What Ever Happened to New Adult?

Over a decade ago, readers, authors, and publishers alike started to recognize a widening gap between the young adult and adult fiction genres. While the young adult genre tends to encompass stories targeted towards readers ages twelve to eighteen, adult fiction almost always features thirty-year-olds and older. This left out an entire market of twenty-somethings who wanted their stories told as well. Hence, in 2009, St. Martin’s Press coined the term “new adult” to describe this subgenre of fiction that bridged the gap between YA and adult.

In the following years, the new adult genre saw a surge in popularity, especially in the self-publishing community. However, it was almost immediately written off by major publishers as a marketing gimmick and dismissed as a credible genre. Publishers believed that readers’ needs were already being met through YA and adult books. This led best-selling authors such as Cora Carmack and Jennifer L. Armentrout to go down the self-publishing route in order to get their new adult fiction into readers’ hands.

Although this new genre proved promising in the early 2010s, and even started to become more and more accepted in traditional publishing and bookselling, the genre has fallen off in the last five years. Mentions of the genre have all but disappeared, even though books that technically fit the requirements are still being published by major publishers. Take Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, or House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas, both published in the last year. Both feature characters in their early to mid-twenties, and both pull elements from YA and adult fiction. Reading them, it’s clear that they don’t quite fit into either category, and instead lie somewhere in the middle. And yet, in both cases, they are marketed not as new adult, but just as adult fiction.

Some of the resistance to using the new adult label has come from the way the genre has been portrayed over the years. When new adult had its first surge of popularity, the majority of books being published and marketed in the genre were romance or erotica. This led to the stereotype that new adult was just “YA but with sex,” and prevented it from truly branching out into other subgenres such as sci-fi and fantasy or thriller and horror. Without being able to break out into other subgenres as YA and adult fiction have both accomplished, new adult is stuck being seen as a small subgenre of adult fiction that encompasses romance books for the twenty-somethings. This failure of the genre is the main reason why it just can’t seem to rise to the same popularity as a genre like YA.

Despite there being a proven market for new adults that are seeking stories about people like them, the genre seems to have failed to truly establish itself as a staple in publishing. Books continue to be published that fit the category, but they are still few and far between, and are refusing the label “new adult.” It is hard to say what the future of this genre looks like, but it seems that for now, the new adult revolution has officially flopped.

Study Abroad in Germany

There are many reasons students choose to partake in study abroad programs, and here at PSU there are a ton of resources to help make that possible during normal times. Before the onset of COVID-19, students in the book publishing program were going to have the opportunity to study abroad in Germany beginning in 2020. Formerly, there was only the chance to expand our knowledge of book publishing on an international scale by participating in the summer term by traveling to Scotland, but the program has recently expanded its study abroad opportunities to allow students to spend a quarter taking classes at Hochschule der Medien in Stuttgart.

Speaking with Dr. Rachel Noorda, Director of Publishing in our program, offered further insight into how this opportunity came about. “I had been looking for more opportunities for our book publishing students to experience book publishing abroad when I received an email from someone at the office of the Baden-Wurttemberg exchange with Oregon.” Dr. Noorda then traveled to visit and present at Hochschule der Medien in November 2019 to check it out and was impressed by all they had to offer.

Classes offered (and taught in English) range from Rights & Licenses, Binding and Finishing, Entrepreneurship, and much more. Being only two hours away from Frankfurt, this program will also offer the exciting chance to attend future iterations of the Frankfurt Book Fair. According to their website, the book fair is “the world’s most important fair for the print and digital content business, as well as an outstanding social and cultural event.”

Whenever it becomes safe to travel again, this will be an amazing opportunity for students within our program, especially because of the benefits of studying abroad. The following are some statistics from the University of California, Merced. 97 percent of students who studied abroad find employment within twelve months of graduating. Compared to students who did not at 49 percent, the numbers mean the likelihood is almost double. Students who study abroad are likely to earn 25 percent higher starting salaries, and 59 percent of employers say studying abroad is seen as valuable to their organizations. But it’s not all about your future career. Students who studied abroad claim that they feel an increase in self-confidence and a greater tolerance for ambiguity.

Although COVID-19 has made international travel and study abroad impossible for now, we look forward to a future where book publishing students are able to participate in this incredible program. There is so much value in traveling and experiencing cultures other than our own. Not only can it help you in your future career, but it can help you grow as an individual. Check out the links above to learn more about studying abroad and this specific opportunity, and stay tuned for updates on when the program will be offered again.

Help Me Design

It is amazing how design finds its way into all professions. Whether you are a graphic-design guru, a website developer, a technical writer, or any other professional who has some sort of visual element in their day-to-day (so, everyone), you are surrounded by design. So let us dive into some resources for the non-designers.

Adobe Help
Adobe can be a fickle mistress, controlling our experience through buried functions, robust shortcut keys, and a beautiful array of possibilities. It is amazing how creative a non-designer can be once given the power through Adobe Creative Cloud. But for those who aren’t willing or able to sit in on weeks of Adobe workshops, here are a few resources that may help.

  • InDesignSecrets
    InDesignSecrets is a creative network family of sites and services for InDesign users. Considered the world’s best resource for all things InDesign, InDesignSecrets has a robust network of help forums, sites, and services that help users get past the most grueling of holdups.
  • LinkedIn Learning
    LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) is an online learning platform that has a bounty of lessons on everything from creative practice to business practice. It is primarily for multimedia and software development, and student accounts are affordable and provide valuable resources like software tutorials, design concepts, and coding fundamentals. If you don’t believe me, read the reviews—LinkedIn Learning speaks for itself.

Adobe Resources
Not every design project starts from scratch. Designers often use resources or inspiration from other creators or creative spaces. Often borrowing a simple brush stroke, font, swatch, or pattern will evolve one’s work into something unexpected. So here are a few resources you can mine.

  • Jotform.com: A Gold Mine of Adobe Illustrator Resources
    Melissa Scroggins has done the design community a huge favor and listed over two hundred free Adobe Illustrator resources. On the blogging platform Jotform.com, Scroggins lists an awing amount of brushes, patterns, symbols, vectors, and swatches. This is a post worth getting lost in.
  • Font Squirrel
    Font Squirrel is a legitimately free typeface resource that has thousands of completely legal and high-quality fonts. Font Squirrel handpicks and organizes popular fonts for easy finds, but depending on the typeface, designers can go down any serif or sans-serif rabbit hole they would like.

There are thousands of resources out there, and these are only a few; but hopefully these help those who either are just getting into design or need some online inspiration. Happy designing!

The First Submissions

Today is a good day. It’s the day we have been waiting an entire year forthe day the first submissions of student writing have made it to our mailbox. These aren’t just any poems; they’re poems full of invention and heart, and they showcase the best of each student’s skills.

Now, we just need some more student poems and essays to befriend them so that we can go about setting up a full-fledged book. We’ll keep you updated on our progress as always, and we invite you to keep sending in your submissions to us at:

William Stafford Writing ProjectOoligan Press369 Neuberger Hall724 SW Harrison Street

Portland, Oregon 97201

Please remember, April 30 is the contest deadline. There are only eighteen more days to send in student work, but you’d better believe we’re looking forward to opening the mailbox on each and every one of them.

A Village

Last time I wrote, I talked a bit about the judging that will take place as part of the writing competition. Well, this week, I have some good news! A great group of volunteers from within the press has stepped up to serve as our judging panel. Rachel and I both are very excited to work with these fabulous people (and extremely grateful for their time and help). That’s the thing about Ooligan—when something needs to get done, it usually requires a combined effort and people willing to donate some time to projects outside of their own area of concentration. It takes a village, right? I, for one, am thankful for this particular village and its contribution to making the William Stafford Project a success.

We’ll be meeting with our volunteers next term to go over details, such as what we’re looking for in winning submissions, and then judging will commence mid-May. It’ll be here sooner than you (and we) think!

The Countdown Begins

Remember when you were in grade school and got to make long, colorful, paper chains to represent the number of days toward summer vacation? Remember how much fun it was to rip them off, day by day, and see summer approaching?

That’s how we’re feeling right now as we mark off calendar days toward our student submission deadline. We’re down to 60 days left, and we can’t wait to see what Oregon’s teachers and student writers have in store for us. Start sending those packets our way!

For more details, please check out or contest flyer, our pdf contest packet, and word versions of our lesson plans on the William Stafford Project site.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Take One

If someone had told me last quarter (my first as a graduate student and working at Ooligan press) that in a few short weeks I’d be project-managing a book, I would have laughed (nervously). All trepidation aside, though, I am thrilled to take on this project. As someone with an appreciation for poetry and an interest in teaching, the William Stafford project is in many ways a perfect fit for me.

I’ve entered the project at an exciting time; we’re currently promoting the writing contest, finding a panel of judges, and receiving actual submissions (and have somewhat missed out on the legwork of contacting a slew of teachers, libraries, and other organizations—something for which I’m both extremely grateful and indebted to my co-managers and everyone else at the press). I’m eager to get involved in promoting what I believe is a great way to get students to interact with and get excited about poetry, both by reading it and writing their own. I also feel honored to be a part of creating a tangible celebration of William Stafford’s legacy.

While I still feel very new to all of this, I’m looking forward to jumping in and learning (and learning and learning…).

William Stafford Birthday Celebrations

William Stafford was born on January 17, 1914. He would have been 99 years old this year. Every January, people across the country celebrate William Stafford’s birth with poetry readings in his honor. Please click here for a Youtube video of a recent William Stafford birthday celebration at Linfield College, to see how some of these events are run.

These readings bring together professional poets, teachers, students, aspiring writers, and William Stafford fans to celebrate Stafford’s life and writing. Please check back for a link to the 2013 schedule of events, which we will post as soon as it is available. In the meantime, check out this article about a William Stafford celebration that featured Robin Scialabba (née Judd) and Erin Ocón, two of the talented teachers who have written the lesson plans in our contest packet!