Fat-cat movie studio executives aren’t the only people delighting in the success of the blockbuster film Pearl Harbor. St. Paul, MN-based MBI, which produces the Zenith Books (aviation and military history books and videos) and Classic Motorbooks (automotive books and videos) catalogs, is reporting strong sales of its Pearl Harbor books after the movie’s Memorial Day release.
Although it’s too early to gauge total response, catalog design supervisor Shelly Lystrom says that the Zenith catalog’s Pearl Harbor movie book, as well as four other Pearl Harbor-related history books, which were showcased on page 3 of the May edition, are selling well, despite the movie’s lukewarm reviews.
After spotlighting the books up front in May, Zenith displayed them on page 68 in the June catalog issue, “because we try to move things around in different issues to track results,” Lystrom says.
For MBI, the Pearl Harbor push isn’t a first. In fact, the company’s associate editor, Amy Glaser, carries the unofficial title of Ms. Movies, Lystrom says. “She gives us tips on movies coming out” that may be tied in to the company’s books.
But not all of MBI’s tie-ins are as celebrated as the movies. The recent death of racecar driver Dale Earnhardt sparked interest in titles about the celebrated driver’s career. “When Dale Earnhardt died,” Lystrom says, “we had numerous customers call us asking for books about his life.” So the current Classic Motorbooks catalog devotes an entire page, subtitled “Remembering the Intimidator,” to books about Earnhardt and his son, Dale Jr.
As MBI catalog marketing manager Cynthia Trudeau points out, “Death is a part of auto-racing culture.” But she’s quick to point out that the company isn’t looking for a quick buck on the racing legend’s passing. MBI contributes a part of its Earnhardt-related revenue to a memorial charity set up by his family.