Saturday, May 16, 2009


The subscription-only Publishers Lunch is reporting on an effort by the Psycho Muppet to become the King of All Media, with Mary Matalin's help:

NYT bestselling author of AN INCONVENIENT BOOK and THE CHRISTMAS SWEATER Glenn Beck's multi-title co-publishing deal, covering an unlimited number of titles over an undisclosed term, beginning with ARGUING WITH IDIOTS, from Threshold Editions in September 2009, AMERICA'S MARCH TO SOCIALISM, an audio original for publication in May 2009, and GLENN BECK'S COMMON SENSE, "channeling the spirit of Thomas Paine," for publication as an eBook original and then a trade paperback original, in June 2009, also to include picture books and fiction for children and YA [young adult] books, said to be a 50/50 profit-sharing deal....

Yup -- that list did include picture books and fiction for children. Hide the babies! But hey, if Bill Bennett and Bill O'Reilly can crack the juvy market, why not Beck?

Threshold, an imprint of Viacom's Simon & Schuster, is, of course, run by Mary Matalin.

I know none of you actually believe that right-wing books sell, but please note that Beck's weepy novel The Christmas Sweater was #31 on USA Today's list of the bestselling books of 2008, outselling everything published in '08 by Stephen King and James Patterson, not to mention blockbusters such as Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and Thomas Friedman's Hot, Flat and Crowded. I still say somebody is buying these damn things. The guy does get ratings on radio and TV -- surely some members of his cult are scarfing these ancillary items up as well.

The 50-50 deal (unusual in the publishing biz, although Stephen King and Dr. Phil have similar deals) does suggest that the publishers aren't quite sure this tsunami is product is all going to sell.* "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people"? I guess this is the ideal test of that proposition.


*Sorry, I didn't explain this when I first put this post up. A 50-50 deal gives the author a much high royalty rate per copy sold, but the traditional book deal gives a migher advance against future royalties, which the author gets to keep no matter how well the book does. So Beck's deal means his publisher pays him much less money upfront, and he makes big money only if his books and booklike objects actually sell.

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