After working for two years with Warner Bros. Pictures, MacGillivray Freeman Films, and IMAX Corp., Braided River, an imprint of nonprofit Mountaineers Books, in Seattle, has produced To the Arctic, the official companion book to the 3D film of the same name set to release next fall.

To the Arctic, photographed by Florian Schulz, was published on November 15, although the IMAX film will not open until fall 2012. “We’ve been on a different time line from the film companies’, but it usually takes about a year for us to position Braided River titles in the marketplace,” said Emily White, publicist for both Mountaineers Books and Braided River. “The photographs in these books, including To the Arctic, become museum exhibits and travel locally through the region. This helps to launch the conversation about the heart of the book, so by the time the IMAX film opens public awareness will be heightened.” The film follows a mother polar bear and her two cubs as they navigate the changing Arctic wilderness they call home; the companion book closely follows this story line. First printing for To the Arctic is 8,000, with White explaining that that amount will “see us through the holiday season and the first round of author events before the film debuts.”

After the film hits, Braided River will set a new run depending on the buzz surrounding the film, White said. An e-book edition will be available as soon as Braided River converts the files; White noted that Braided River had waited to digitize its titles until there were enough devices in the market that could showcase its full-color titles, and that point has now been reached.

Braided River was founded in 2003 by Helen Cherullo, now executive director of the imprint as well as being publisher of Mountaineers Books; the publisher focuses on preserving the last wild places in Western North America and inspiring support for global conservation efforts. The 10 titles that the nonprofit has published combine photography and literature, and are used as launching pads for media campaigns and multimedia presentations aimed at various conservation issues that are at the heart of Cherullo’s interests. On November 16 she was awarded the prestigious Voice of the Wild award by the board of the Alaska Wilderness League for her use of books to advocate for conservation. A few of Braided Rivers’ past publishing successes are Salmon in the Trees, Planet Ice, and The Last Polar Bear.

The Braided River imprint, which is supported by book sales and grants from individuals and foundations, has sold over 80,000 books to date.