The new movie Seabiscuit burst into view last winter in an inspired trailer that resounded with ambient crowd noise. In the book industry, anticipation for the upcoming film has led to a different kind of din: the sound of publishers flogging their new tie-ins.

The summer's biggest book-to-movie arrives this Friday, and everywhere you turn, there's a horse of a different color. Leading the pack is Random House, of course, with a new illustrated edition of Laura Hillenbrand's 2001 bestseller, as well as trade paper and mass market tie-ins from Ballantine. But trailing behind Random are more modest contenders, including several from publishers that specialize in horse racing. For specialist presses, the probable blockbuster has created an unusual marketing paradigm: one-part Hollywood, one-part guerrilla publishing.

For those relying on regular bookselling channels, the trick is to play off Universal's marketing frenzy without confusing—or at least without seeming as though they are trying to confuse—readers who may not know which books are official tie-ins. One of the most ambitious efforts to ride along with the movie comes from Eclipse Press in Louisville, Ky., an outgrowth of the magazine The Blood-Horse that has become one of the best-known equestrian publishers. The Seabiscuit Story by John McEvoy (May) includes stories from so-called "turf writers" who covered the icon, as well as original photos from the archives of The Blood-Horse. It even sports a blurb from Hillenbrand herself.

The Seabiscuit Story has landed end-cap displays at Barnes & Noble and will be featured as part of a tie-in display at indie giant Joseph-Beth Booksellers, which has stores in Kentucky and Ohio. Despite its efforts to secure such placement, Eclipse recognizes the need to avoid seeming exploitative. "The risk you run with a book like this is looking like you're capitalizing [on a marketing opportunity]. We're trying to make a more meaningful contribution that takes the story in a different direction," explained marketing manager Geri Parfitt.

For micropresses, like Angel Bea in Cincinnati, Ohio, which is publishing the children's title Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral (Sept.), clever marketing can augment the book's distribution via IPG. Author and publisher Kat Shehata enlisted the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the sport's governing body, to help promote the book, which recounts the story of the famous race for children ages 4—8, with fanciful illustrations by award-winning illustrator Jo McElwee. In exchange for advertising NTRA Charity in the back of the book, the association will use its horsepower to showcase the title in the racing community.

Meanwhile, Westholme Press is trying to differentiate its title by playing up the story behind it. Seabiscuit: The Saga of a Great Champion by B.K. Beckwith, one of the journalists who originally covered the story in 1938, found its way back into print through serendipity. When University of Pennsylvania Press publicity director Bruce Franklin chanced upon a frayed copy in a secondhand bookstore and discovered that the book was in the public domain, he made it the newly formed press's lead title. The result is a wide-format 64-page coffee-table paperback with classic photos printed on yellowish paper for an old-time feel. Franklin, who is handling the sales and marketing, has sold the book to racetrack gift shops and made it available on enthusiast sites. Though he doesn't have a formal distributor, Baker & Taylor is stocking the book.

Other titles have more straightforward origins. The University of Nebraska Press decided to reissue Ralph Moody's 1963 adaptation of the story for junior high-schoolers, Come on Seabiscuit (Mar.), in part because the house has published the late author for a long time, according to marketing director Sandra Johnson. Grosset & Dunlap also has a middle-grade title, A Horse Named Seabiscuit by Mark and Cathy Dubowski.

Random House is concentrating too heavily on its own editions—including the illustrated one, which editor Jon Karp thinks can entice "hundreds of thousands of readers"—to worry much about piggybackers. "These books better not be too similar," joked Random House sales and marketing director Anthony Ziccardi, before adding, more seriously, "It's flattering to see someone try to take advantage of something we've done so successfully. The one thing that concerns us is if a customer picks up [one of these titles] unknowingly and thinks it's our book."

The indie publishers emphasize that while they want bookstores to present many of the titles together, they don't want to mislead anyone. Still, it won't be easy to slow their efforts down to a trot. As Nebraska UP's Johnson said, "We all love a Hollywood connection."