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February 25, 2022

Book publishing: the last frontier for big-ticket deals?

Deirdre McMurdy

No question that pretty much every business is feeling the squeeze these days. That said, there is one corner of the world that is unscathed by the global economic collapse - it could even be argued that it's aggressively bucking the trend to reduce costs and pull back.

We're talking here, however improbably, about book publishing.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been a remarkable series of multi-million dollar book deals inked. It's all the more remarkable given the fact that newspapers and magazines are folding in part because people now gather their information on-line and not from the printed page

So who are publishers betting will sell blockbuster books - and therefore deserving of huge advances?

On the political front, Laura Bush has a deal that is described as "multi-million dollar" (Hillary Clinton got $8 million when she left the gig of First Lady), former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has a three-book deal worth $2.5 million, and Obama's campaign manager got "seven figures" for his book about the campaign. Sarah Palin allegedly received offers of $7 million for her story after the election.

On the celebrity front, Britney Spears got a $20 million advance for her autobiography, Tina Fey got $5 million for a book of some sort, and Kathy Griffth - best known for her cable network series, Life on the D List - just signed a $2-million deal to tell her tale of struggling for fame. And let's not even try to imagine what Kanye West's forthcoming book will be about.



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