Everything Old Is New Again

Beginning when my son was in kindergarten, we went through what we politely refer to as his "Titanic phase." When I say he was "interested" in the epic disaster surrounding the unsinkable ship, that is putting it mildly. I hate to use the word "obsessed" to describe a six year old, but there you have it. His kindergarten teacher was moving to fourth grade at the end of that year and gave him her extensive collection of Titanic books aimed at younger audiences. I think he would've said at the time it was the best gift of his young life. He poured over those books, drew endless sketches of the ship in various stages of sinking and watched the movie (with Mom and Dad taking turns to fast forward over the racy bits) a hundred times.

EVERY conversation could be brought back around to the Titanic. "What do you want for lunch?" Peanut butter would be good. Do you think they had peanut butter on the Titanic? You get the picture. It went on for what seemed like YEARS. He is now in 7th grade and has passed through subsequent lesser obsessions with the six Star Wars movies, the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Bruins and the rapper Eminem (this last one making us long nostalgically for the Titanic era). So as the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking got ever closer and the new 3D version of the movie was released, his father, sister and I have wondered if there would be a reawakening of the Titanic obsession. Yesterday, he and his father went to see the 3D version of the movie, and since then he has been all Titanic, all the time. "It's back," his sister declared this morning when he pulled out one of his many books to show us something important. We knew it was a gamble to let him see the movie, but he wanted to so badly that we agreed. That's what we get for tempting fate! Ha!

I do have a relevant point in telling you this story of my son's ongoing love affair with the Titanic. In 1997 when the movie was originally released, it was the highest grossing film in history for the next 12 years. With box office receipts of $1.8 billion, it was the first movie to make a billion dollars. Now here it comes again, fifteen years later, with a 3D version to mark the 100th anniversary of the ship's maiden voyage. One of my son's friends joked that maybe with 3D, they'd see the iceberg this time. Okay, bad joke. My point is that Titanic will no doubt have an epic second run with a whole new audience discovering the movie and past audiences ponying up to see it again in 3D. Masterful marketing at its very best. Of course Titanic is a timeless story that never gets old no matter how many movies are made or how often the tale is retold.

The same might be said for that old book you published back in the 80s or 90s. With a bit of updating it might have a whole new second life and earn you some "found" money in the process. Do you have out-of-print books for which you have taken back the rights? If so, consider what you might do with those old books--how you might make them new again by bringing them up to today's standards by including inventions such as computers, email, cell phones and GPS devices, to name a few. Could the same story you told back in 1980 be told with a 2012 spin? If so, what are you waiting for? As we say in the Wild West of Publishing, there's gold in them there books! Do something with them!

Need help? Hire the Fairies! See the links above right to get started.

Question: Will you see the Titanic a second time in 3D or was once enough? When my husband texted to tell me they were going to the movie yesterday, I wrote back to say, "It doesn't end well. Just FYI."