Stone Reader Provides Perfect Cross-Promotion Opportunity

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Book lovers are not always film lovers, nor are film lovers always book lovers. But what of a film about the love of books -- in particular, the love of one special book…. This is where book people and film people must overlap. Filmmaker Mark Moskowitz turned his quest for information about a long-forgotten novel, purchased in his college days, into a paean to authors, books, and those who love them. The film, which he wrote, directed, and co-produced, is Stone Reader and the book, currently out of print but in negotiations for reissue, is The Stones of Summer: A Yeoman's Notes 1942-1969, by Dow Mossman, published by Bobbs-Merrill in 1972. Booksellers around the country are discovering this critically acclaimed film, which boasts an on-screen bibliography of over a hundred classics and backlist books. As Stone Reader appears in independent, or art house theaters, some local booksellers are seizing the opportunity for cross-promotion.

Stone Reader, which includes extensive conversations with Leslie Fiedler (author of the landmark Love and Death in the American Novel); editor Robert Gottlieb; Dow Mossman's agent Carl Brandt; and author John Seelye, who wrote a hyperbolic rave review in the New York Times Book Review upon the book's 1972 publication, offers a mythic search for a one-book writer who did not produce the Great American Novel.

In an interview with BTW, Moskowitz discussed how the film relates to booksellers. "In my cross-country quest for Dow Mossman, one person leads me to the next. Since no one knows anything about Mossman or The Stones of Summer, we talk about other books. Dozens of titles come up, and people want that list. After seeing the film, they find themselves in a bookstore or library searching for one of the books. I didn't intend to make a reading list. Someone has done that and posted it on the discussion board at"

"Some bookstores have made displays of the lists and some theaters have been successful using the list on publicity flyers," said Moskowitz.

Michelle McFadden, director of marketing at Bound to Be Read in Albuquerque, New Mexico, found the cross promotion of Stone Reader during its recent run at Albuquerque's Madstone Theater, remarkably easy and successful.

"The theater is right across the street from our store. We used the theater for author signings when we have more people than we can handle in the store. Prior to the film coming out, we made a display with a poster for the film and the books mentioned," McFadden explained. "We also had a display of one-time novelists -- Emily Bronte, Harper Lee, Ralph Ellison. We made flyers with the list of books from the film and printed a 20 percent off coupon on the back. It drove many people into the store and was something we'd certainly do again. Even after the film finished its run, books from the displays were selling well. Mark Moskowitz spoke at the premiere and gave a huge plug for the store. It was great."

Sophie Martin, director of marketing at the Madstone Theater in Albuquerque was equally pleased: "We would do it again [promote a film with Bound to Be Read] in a heartbeat." She told BTW. "People walked out of the film saying 'I can't believe I didn't write all those titles down.' And we could give them the handout. We believe that we had great traffic back and forth. Based on studies done by independent theater owners, I'd suspect that our audiences correlate closely with avid book readers. Our audiences are seeking the self-actualization that comes from good movies, good books, and good conversation. A documentary about reading might not sound too exciting on the face of it -- but the word-of-mouth was incredible and a number of people said they heard about it at Bound to Be Read. People walked out of the film wanting to share it with others. They were saying, 'I didn't think anyone else thought that way about books.' It would really have been foolish not to partner this film with a bookstore."

Moskowitz called film "a community activity." He is pleased with the discussions about books that are prompted by Stone Reader and sees a local bookstore as an obvious place to carry on those conversations. As Martin recalls, Moskowitz remarked at the Albuquerque premiere that "If it wasn't for places like Bound to Be Read, many difficult and sophisticated first books would never be sold."

"This film provides ABA members a unique opportunity to sell a number of backlist titles and to promote themselves in a cooperative effort with a local theater," said ABA COO Oren Teicher. "ABA encourages booksellers to contact their local theater (see list below) to see if they can arrange a promotion similar to that created by Bound to Be Read." --Nomi Schwartz






Now Playing

Atlanta, GA

Madstone Theaters Parkside


Now Playing

Philadelphia, PA



May 2* -

W. Los Angeles, CA

Nuart Theatre


May 2* -

Denver, CO

Madstone Theaters


May 9* -

San Diego, CA

Madstone Theaters


May 9* -

Washington, DC

Avalon Theatre


May 9* -

Westhampton, NY

Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center


May 9* -

New York, NY

Cinema Village


May 9* -

Dallas, TX

Angelika Film Center


May 9* -

Ft. Worth, TX

AMC Hulen


May 16* -

Phoenixville, PA

Colonial Theatre


May 23* -

Sarasota, FL

Burns Court Cinemas


May 30* -

Houston, TX

Angelika Film Center


May 30* -

Baltimore, MD

The Charles Theater


June 6* -

Cambridge, MA

Kendall Square Cinemas


June 13* -

Austin, TX

Arbor Cinemas at Great Hills


June 20* -

Rhinebeck, NY

Upstate Films


July 11* -

Hartford, CT

Wadsworth Atheneum


July 11* -

Cary, NC

Madstone Theaters


July 11* -

Chicago, IL



July 11* -

Chapel Hill, NC

Chelsea Theater


July 17* -

Oklahoma City, OK

Noble Theatre at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art


July 18* -

Vashon, WA

The Vashon


July 25* -

Kansas City, MO

Tivoli at Manor Square


August 22 - 24

Detroit, MI

Detroit Institute of Art


August 28* -

Ann Arbor, MI

Mastone Theaters at Briarwood Mall


* Opening night of engagement.