The August 13 release of the film version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love is the latest example of a popular book title moving to the big screen. These books achieve success long before their silver screen debuts, but the buzz immediately leading up to a film version can drive impressive sales.
“While the literary world is often the source of creative content for Hollywood, the relationship is reciprocal, as we often see Hollywood releases boosting book sales,” said Jonathan Nowell, President, Nielsen Book.
Eat, Pray, Love has seen a rise in book sales, with 94,000 units sold in the week ending in August 1 alone, the same number of total units sold for the entire 2006 year, when the book was first published. So far, in 2010, the book has sold more than twice as many copies as all of 2009.
Last year, the book-to-movie bounce was seen most notably with “Julie & Julia,” which helped drives sales not only for Julie Powell’s Julie & Julia, but also the Julia Child cookbooks that were Powell’s inspiration.
Other book-to-movie titles with a strong appeal to women have also seen a lift, despite a reduced media and box office profile. The February 2010 release of Dear John by Nicholas Sparks, author of other shelf-to-screen hits including The Notebook, sparked an uptick in book sales, contributing to over 1 million units sold during the 2010 year-to-date, nearly half of the book’s 2.4 million total sales. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult made its silver screen debut in June 2009, five years after its original publication run. This novel also achieved its highest weekly sales number during the week of the film’s release with 81,000 units sold.