The idea is starting to catch on, and is sure to be front and center next week in New York at BookExpo America, the largest book industry event in North America. The thinking is that it’s relatively easy for studios to turn publishing into a useful sideline in the e-book era. At the most basic level, they can sell scripts from films or TV shows the way Warner Bros will with its just-launched “Inside the Script” publishing initiative. It will begin by selling e-books of scripts for Casablanca, Ben-Hur, An American In Paris, and North By Northwest. But there’s no need to stop there. “Why shouldn’t every Seinfeld episode be an e-book?” asks Mike Shatzkin, CEO of The Idea Logical Company, a publishing consulting firm. The next step is to follow in the footsteps of NBC Publishing, the operation NBC News announced in January to create print and e-books based on news stories and just about anything that comes from NBCUniversal. Last year, ABC introduced a Video Bookstore that offers multimedia publications for iPads. But studios have the cash, connections, and marketing muscle to do much more. They could cut out traditional publishers and sign deals with authors that blend book and movie rights. They also could commission writers to put out novelized versions of movies or TV series. Shatzkin, for one, says he plans to hit Hollywood this month to gauge studios’ interest in developing e-book strategies leading up to an October event, Publishers Launch Hollywood.
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