First the movie, then the book?

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It used to be that you read the book and then, a couple of years later, you saw the movie. But recently, it's been happening the other way around.

Especially interesting is the fact that sometimes the book starts as a figment of the filmmaker's imagination.

For instance, according to The Christian Post, in the upcoming Christian movie "Fireproof" (scheduled for release on Sept. 26), screenwriters created a book as plot point. The movie tells the story of Caleb Holt, a firefighter with a troubled marriage. To help prevent divorce, Caleb's dad suggests he read a book called "The Love Dare."

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The book changes Caleb's view of marriage and transforms his life. As soon as preview audiences saw the film, they began flooding bookstores with inquiries.

The only problem: The book didn't exist.

It does now, however.

Brothers and associate pastors Alex and Stephen Kendrick, also co-directors and producers of "Fireproof," sat down and penned such a book in the space of a few weeks. It hasn't hit bookstores yet but has already sold 300,000 copies and may go on to become the bestselling Christian book of 2008.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there's the story of the "Sex and the City" book. When Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) sat in bed reading a book called "Love Letters from Great Men" in a scene in the film, women viewers everywhere decided they needed a copy.

Again: As the press was quick to report, the book didn't actually exist. (At least not with that title.)

But there was something close enough: a 1920s title called "Love Letters of Great Men and Women" reissued last year by Kessinger Publishing. On the strength of the movie, the book suddenly became a hot item for booksellers.

Then there's the story of Scott Campbell, director of communications at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, wrote a novel he called "Aftermath," based on the true story of a family that lost a son.

While his agent was still trying to find a US publisher for his book, German director Caroline Link bought the film rights. Her movie "A Year Ago in Winter" (adapted from the manuscript of "Aftermath") made its debut at the Toronto film festival a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the book is getting ready to go to press in Germany. But in the US, Campbell has decided to publish it himself and distribute it at www.ScottCampbellBooks.com.

When it comes to books and marketing, it's a strange new world.

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