Everything that's wrong with the publishing industry in one link

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What? The fact she'll get a byline? Or the shameless $4 million deal for a tabloid celebrity when the entire industry can't figure out the proper price of an e-book?

That second thing.  It's the notion that the stupidest possible book deserves the biggest advance--but no doubt there was an auction for the rights, and HC was the "winner."  Jude's probably right--it'll earn out and make some money, because people will want to know all the sordid details.  Or whatever parts of the sordid details Ms. Knox chooses to tell them, anyway.  It's not just a problem with publishing--it's a problem with the Culture of Stupid, of which publishing is now very much a part.

This reminds me of the "dream OJ" book somebody suggested, taking in account the principle of double jeopardy.  "Yeah, I Did It. So?"

That book will make money. It might even be quite interesting. But the huge advance for the surefire mega-hit isn't going to sustain the industry in the long run, IMO.

I doubt Amanda Knox knows anything about advances anyway. The lawyers on the other hand...

I'm sure there will be millions of readers avid to hear all about her two years from now when the book comes out.

Before I clicked on the link I misread it as "Amanda Hocking"  but she only got two million for actualy doing something, not just beating  rap.  My mistake.

Yeah, I read the link as Amanda Hocking, too. Maybe that says something about us Cammy ;).

But these kinds of books aren't really part of the publishing business, this happens because the big publishers are part of entertainment or "communications" conglomerates. I remember when the movie business started hiring execs from other industry because the product being produced didn't matter and now we have sequels and "based on" movies completely dominating the box office.

Luckily it doesn't have to be like that with books because they do require a lot less up front capital to get to the market.

What would YOU pay for this Mega-Buster film from K-Tel Films????  Don't answer yet, because you also get...

John,

When I look at the New York Times "bestseller" list, I see the same names week after week, month after month, year after year. Some, like Robert Ludlum and Robert Parker are dead, yet their books are being written by someone else. We've had previous discussions on Crimespace regarding James Patterson, who has a stable of writers penning his books.

Books do require less upfront capital, but when an industry pays $4 million for the rights for one book, it leaves little for most everyone else, particularly new writers. The book industry and Hollywood may not be identical twins, but they sure are fraternal when it comes to churning out the same material over and over again––and often spending huge sums of cash on "blockbusters" that never earn out.

Oh, that's absolutely true, but the book-buying public has a lot to do with that.  Essentially, people stick with what they know.  That makes it very hard for a new author with new ideas to make it in the publishing world unless the publisher gets behind him with publicity money.  That, however, publishers no longer like to do.  It's all about the guaranteed profits these days.  They are big business conglomerates rather than purveyors of literary excellence.

Well, same old discussion but--maybe people stick with what they know because that's what's being sold to them.  Publishers promote the sure thing that doesn't need promoting (partly because they can't afford to not earn back the big advance) and ignore the new, risky thing that does need promotion because they don't have anything at stake if it fails.  If it succeeds on its own, great!  If it disappears without a trace, no big deal--there's 1,000 more out there just like it, more or less.  If the Knox book doesn't earn out, and sometimes these big name tell-alls flop miserably, then it'll be the small profit-making midlist that end up subsidizing that failure, and paying the salaries of the execs who made the decision to buy the damn thing in the first place.

But they've cut back drastically on their midlist.  They earn out too slowly.  And I'm still with blaming the book-buying public to some extent. The heavy readers are very knowledgeable, but they go to the libraries and used book stores because their habit is too expensive otherwise.  The buyers are people who act on impulse and who like a quick fix. Housewives in big box stores, and travellers in airports. They go for the thrillers and the well-known names, or they pick up on the hype of heavy publicity. Perhaps for  a while, the big six had big inventories of midlist authors who work for small advances and can be counted on to keep producing a steady income, but I think that has changed.  Too many well-known midlist authors are without publishers now. And others are leaving of their own free will because they are getting screwed. 

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