Books are the heartbeat of the creative industries

Books that are being adapted for TV
Books that are being adapted for TV

It’s been more than a year since many of us have been staying at home most of the time. Looking back over the pandemic, time blends and I find it hard to distinguish month from month. Aside from the seasons, there is another way that helps me separate the last year into sections and it’s cultural phenomena – particularly TV shows. For me, the ones that stand out as provoking excitement and conversation are Normal People, The Queen’s Gambit and Bridgerton. They all gave me something fun to talk about on twitter, socially distanced walks and Zoom. Each of them also started their life as a book, like many TV programmes, plays and films do.

In 2018, the Publishers Association released research on publishing’s contribution to the wider cultural industries. I find the results quite staggering. The report showed that, compared to original scripts and screenplays, book adaptations attracted on average:

  • 44% more in UK film box office revenue (and 53% more globally)
  • 58% higher viewership of ‘high-end’ TV productions
  • Nearly three times more ticket sales for theatre productions

The publishing industry significantly increases the commercial and cultural value of films, TV programmes and plays. Publishing acts as the heartbeat of the UK’s £92 billion creative industries sector. Publishers usually celebrate when one of their books is adapted for screen. A film or TV show can create a whole new readership for one of their books and raise the profile of authors. However, before reading this research, I hadn’t realised the extent to which our film, TV, theatre and book industries are interlinked.

Over the past year books, TV and film have been more important than ever. They offered us entertainment and escape from the monotony of staying home and social distancing. I hope to be able to see more of my family and friends from now on and I’m still going to be discussing books, TV and films with them.

Below are some of the upcoming UK book adaptations I’m looking forward to watching and then discussing (which makes the first quite fitting).

  • Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (BBC)
  • Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan (Netflix)
  • This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay (BBC)
  • Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Amazon)
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (Netflix)

There are tons more in the works. The BBC recently announced adaptations of Everything I Know About Love, Skint Estate and The Gallows Pole. I’d love to know which adaptation you’re most excited to see.