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More Depressing (or Encouraging Depending on Your POV) Publishing News

From Publishers Marketplace :
In the good news, Hachette is essentially printing money with the Twilight series. I can't find the article right now (I think it was in PW) but it said that Hachette can't fill the orders for Twilight fast enough.  They are printing 7.5 million more copies and that they sometimes have 8 printing presses going at the same time.  To date, the series has sold 25 million copies.  It's fairly amazing to me how one book can really carry a whole publishing house.  For Scholastic, it was the Harry Potter series.  For Simon & Schuster, it was The Secret.  But these books seem to be an anomaly.  Is it really wise to place so much of the economic success of a business on one product?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

6 Comments

  1. Amy @ My Friend Amy
    Dec 04, 2008 @ 10:17:16

    I say no, considering Scholastic had a tough year this year.

  2. Keishon
    Dec 04, 2008 @ 10:41:09

    So does that mean my first edition copy is worth money?

  3. Alice
    Dec 04, 2008 @ 11:03:53

    That’s probably what got them into trouble in the first place. Much like celebrity books.

  4. Cara
    Dec 04, 2008 @ 11:09:35

    Isn’t that the business though? They look for strong selling books and authors, but the biggest goal is to have that one book or author that tens of millions of copies? They have to take some risk to achieve maximum profits. It does make me see what a scary business publishing is!

  5. Zoe Archer
    Dec 04, 2008 @ 17:15:16

    I always felt that diversification is the smartest business option. Relying overmuch on one product seems akin to building your house with a foundation of Cheez-Whiz.

  6. Michelle
    Dec 04, 2008 @ 20:32:06

    Honestly, I think businesses that sell creative products (tv shows, books, movies) just get lucky half the time when they have a huge hit on their hands. I’ve worked in the cable industry for 9 years, and some of the things that are hits and some of the shows that are flops can just defy reason. You read about them in pilot stage, hear about them being presented at TCA, and you would not guess that show c would be a hit and show a (which looks much better on paper) would not.

    Yes, quality can rise to the top, but it seems like a certain story just hits the zeitgeist at the right time – and the same thing of same quality would not hit 2 years before or even 1 month later. Basically the william goldman nobody knows nothing idea. I would doubt that anyone would write a business plan based on just one item really taking off like gangbusters, but they want to ride the wave as long as they can when it happens.

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