From the Great Wheel to the Great Read
Kyle Griffith · business owner/entrepreneur
Books can form the basis of a profitable and unique ancillary product line, whether your main business is finance, cannabis sales, or tourism. Girl Friday helped one client, heavily invested in Seattle’s famed waterfront properties, to create a branded product line of keepsake children’s and coffee-table books. Though he didn’t know how to publish a book going in, working together, the results have been spectacular.
Kyle Griffith, then vice president of Miners Landing, the family company that owns Pier 57 in Seattle, wanted to add value to one of the waterfront’s most popular and iconic attractions. Guests riding the Seattle Great Wheel could already purchase photos with a stylized paper or plastic frame. But Kyle wanted something different—something special. He kept coming back to the idea of custom publishing. But he didn’t know how to publish a children’s book, or even where to begin. Hire a ghostwriter? Contract editing services? Find an illustrator? And was it possible to incorporate those keepsake photos?
The Problem to Solve
When Kyle approached Girl Friday with his conundrum, we knew this was a cover design opportunity. We created a custom children’s book around the Great Wheel, one version with a die-cut (or window) in the front cover that would allow the keepsake photo to be incorporated into the story!
One million people ride the Great Wheel every year, and 10 percent of those people buy a photo. If even 1 percent of riders buy a book-and-photo combo, the book has reached 10,000 people.
The Great Wheel Adventure turned out to be ideal for families traveling with small children. All in one, the book provided kids’ entertainment—allowing parents to enjoy their beer and crab at the Griffith waterfront restaurants—a family memory, a quality souvenir, and, when given as a gift, a delightful way to promote the Great Wheel to all the folks back home.
Since the publication of The Great Wheel Adventure and the birth of its smiling brother-and-sister protagonists, Betty and Gabe (named for Kyle’s black Labs), Miners Landing has become a bona fide publisher with three titles under its belt. Each title promotes key elements of the Pier 57 experience, which combines a carnival-like atmosphere with education about Pacific Northwest history and culture.
Wings Over Washington is a luxe coffee-table book filled with beautiful images of Washington State. It complements the Wings Over Washington flight experience, which allows riders the chance to soar over the Pacific Northwest in five minutes.
The Great Gold Rush Adventure features the antics of an adventurous boy named Walter who meets old-time miner Hal and sets off to the Yukon. Both fantastic story and profitable marketing tool, the book allowed Miners Landing to parlay a bit of Seattle history into company folklore: the current pier is just adjacent to the 1897 landing site of the SS Portland, fresh from the Yukon and laden with gold that ignited gold rush fever and put the town on the map. The book features deluxe cover design, with tactile gold dust adorning the book cover, and interactive elements inside that fuel the reader’s discovery.
A New Opportunity pops up
Thrilled by the results of the first three titles, Miners Landing is finding new book marketing strategies, with a new store promoting special offerings, including all three current books, and other on-pier POS purchasing opportunities. The books are also available through Amazon.
The Miners Landing publishing program continues to grow (vertically!), with an incredible pop-up book coming soon.
Not every company will launch a full-scale publishing program like Miners Landing did, but every business wants to stand out from the rest. Custom publishing can celebrate the story of an organization, promote a company to a new market, or provide clients unique opportunities to interact with the brand. For this satisfied client, it’s all three.