One of my recent site hits came from a search for “films based on novels” and it reminded me of a business idea I once had. Actually, “business fantasy” is more apt since I have no intention of establishing such a business—but I wish someone would. The business would rent (and sell) movies based on literature and sell the corresponding books right next to the videos. The idea is that if people like the movie they’ll want to read the book and vice versa. Most of my videos and DVDs have counterparts on my bookshelves, so I think there’s a market for this sort of thing. And with so many popular films being based on books I think this venture could be an economic success. Tolkein and Rowling alone could probably keep the place afloat for a decade.
I don’t know why the online retailers don’t link between different formats of the same story. Video and book databases appear to be strangers to each other. You can see “similar” books with some clicking on amazon.ca, but the results are poor. Suggested books to go with Jane Austen’s Persuasion (the film) include Harry Potter and Eats, Shoots and Leaves, with no print edition of Persuasion (or any Austen books) to be found. Starting from the book side of things, there is no way to get directly to the film versions. Things are even worse at Chapters/Indigo, with no option whatsoever to browse books related to a film or films related to a book. [Aside: There is a DVD edition of Persuasion that includes the book, so apparently some publishers are thinking cross-format even if the retailers aren’t.] Things are much better at amazon.com, with good linkage between books and movies in both directions, but alas (?) I don’t live in the U.S.
Until some enterprising retailer steals my idea and makes a fortune, there is always the library. From the comfort of my own home I can browse the catalogue, reserve the movie versions of the books I love, or the books that inspired the movies I love, and the only thing I have to take out of my wallet is my library card. I’d say that’s a pretty good deal.