It has been a banner year for the late Elvis Presley's Graceland. President Bush
and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid a visit. The hit
FOX-TV show American Idol filmed there. And it was designated a
National Historic Landmark.
Now, the King of Rock 'n' Roll's Memphis, Tenn., manse is immortalized in Quirk Book's Graceland: A Pop-Up Tour
($40, 159474131X), which arrived in stores in October. Quirk president
and publisher David Borgenicht, a self-described "big fan of
Graceland," came up with the idea. Borgenicht had been looking to do
"quirky, high-end books" and decided to pair the two interests. "It
made total sense to use paper engineering to bring Graceland alive," he
said, "and let people take it home and interact with it in a way they
actually can't on the tour."
Editorial director Jason Rekulak took the lead in making Graceland pop
in pop-up form. "We had a hunch the house would lend itself
really well to a pop-up because there is some unusual architecture in
the building," said Rekulak. With paper engineer
Chuck Murphy and a designer, "We went through room by room and took a
lot of pictures and thought about how different parts of the house
would lend themselves to paper engineering," he added.
The result is a full-color, large format book with eight spreads
recreating Graceland's eclectic interior, from a dazzling display of
jumpsuits to the Tiki-inspired furniture in the Jungle Room. "I think
both core Elvis fans and new ones will not be disappointed," said
Borgenicht about Graceland
. "It could have been a very static
book," he added, but rather than simply replicate the rooms on a
smaller scale the editorial team "conceived it in such a way that there
are some really cool interactive features." Readers can peruse Elvis'
record collection, change the channels on his television, flip through
a photo album and peer inside the refrigerator stocked with foods he
demanded be on hand at all times. Text throughout the book illuminates
aspects of the singer's life at Graceland.
An unexpected boon was the book's foreword by Priscilla Presley, in
which she reminisces about meeting Elvis in Germany--where he was
stationed in the Army--and hearing him talk about Graceland. Partway
through the production process, Elvis Presley Enterprises facilitated
an introduction with the actress, who was enthusiastic about
participating in the project. "It's a great extra draw for sure,"
Borgenicht said of the foreword. "It very much legitimizes the effort
and makes it, I think, a real kind of authentic work and collectible
for Elvis fans."
Quirk is now focused on "getting the word out to the fan base," noted
Borgenicht, through online and viral marketing. The company's marketing
strategy includes working with other Elvis Presley Enterprises
licensees on co-promotions and events at places like theme restaurants
and entertainment-oriented venues. Graceland
will be a
headliner at several major chains, as well as at airport stores in
Memphis and elsewhere in the South. The book is also being sold at
Graceland and online at www.shopelvis.com
Quirk has shipped nearly all of its 40,000 copies of Graceland
and is planning to reprint early next year. "Elvis books are clearly
one of those evergreen categories of celebrity books," Borgenicht
commented. "This one is so unique and has not been done before, and I
think it has a long life ahead of it." 2007 marks both the 30th
anniversary of Elvis' death and the 25th anniversary of Graceland's
opening to the public, two media-worthy events likely to keep the beat for the book going.
At least one high profile Elvis fan is sure to be happy with a memento
of his visit to the King's abode. "My one regret is that the book
wasn't out for the Japanese premier's visit this summer," said
Borgenicht. "But we'll certainly send him a copy."--Shannon McKenna