Founded in 2012 by veterans of the entertainment business, Adaptive Studios is an unusual business venture originally focused on repurposing moribund or abandoned movie scripts into new content for different media, including books, movies, and TV shows. Since its launch, the firm has published about 20 books for adults and young adults under its Adaptive Books imprint.
In a recent interview, Adaptive cofounders Perrin Chiles, who is also Adaptive’s CEO, and T.J. Barrack, who oversees Adaptive’s publishing and digital units, offered an update on the Adaptive Books list and the company’s approach to acquiring content.
Adaptive’s first deal to bulk up its list was in 2015, when it acquired a number of orphaned manuscripts from the now-defunct Egmont Publishing. Earlier this year, Adaptive acquired the complete literary estate of author Zane Grey, who is credited with creating the American western genre at the turn of the 20th century. The estate includes about 133 novels, including 1912’s Riders of the Purple Sage. Adaptive plans to republish these classic titles in new editions, as well as to produce the works for TV and film.
Barrack said that Adaptive Books continues to seek out abandoned content, but it is now expanding its focus to more traditional publishing content, such as the Grey estate. Adaptive, he said, plans to “republish the Zane Grey works for an existing audience and for a young audience that doesn’t know anything about Zane Grey.” In addition, the company hired Matt Wise in 2016 as v-p of publishing and literary development. Wise was previously director of publishing at Blumhouse Books.
Among Adaptive Books’s bestselling titles are A Beautiful Mind, A Beautiful Life by Lindy Tsang, a memoir of growing up Chinese in Ireland by the YouTube star; Mary Rose, a modern retelling of J.M. Barrie’s classic ghost story by Geoff Girard; and The Memory Thief by Bryce Morgan (optioned by Fox Animation), the story of twin brothers who encounter an emporium specializing in manipulating memories.
Adaptive Books will publish 20 titles in 2018 across a variety of genres, including crime and literary thrillers, juvenile fiction (including two graphic novels), and juvenile nonfiction. Barrack noted that Adaptive is also looking at reworking abandoned manuscripts. He pointed to several Adaptive titles coming in the fall.
Among them is Radiant Night by Patrick Lohier, a literary thriller that was originally pitched to a number of houses but failed to find a publisher. Adaptive, Barrack said, worked with the author, re-edited the book, and “found a wonderful debut voice the Big Five were scared to take a chance on.”
Adaptive is also publishing The Toast by Matt Marinovich, described by the author’s former agent as “too dark.” Barrack called the reworked novel as “amazing.”
“We’ve learned a lot about publishing,” Barrack said. “The book industry is changing, and we’re nimble, we’re open to new ideas, and we adapt. We want to offer a holistic approach to storytelling that includes print, Hollywood, and TV.”