Unbelievable book deals for lucky bloggers
Not even a month before this week’s all Thomas Kohnstamm news, all the time, it seems the blogosphere was exploding with book news of a much more positive sort. I’ve only discovered this recently, but apparently two hugely popular blogs, Stuff White People Like and I Can Has Cheezburger, have both landed book deals with beyond-ridiculous advances. In the print media universe. Get this: On March 20, The New York Observer reported that the “Stuff White People Like” book was sold to Random House for at least $350,000.
For those of you who don’t work in the media or publishing industries, you’ll simply have to take my word for it: This is an incredibly high advance. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that the book will be based on a blog that is currently less than three months old! Initially, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe this was nothing more than a well-executed media prank. And yet here’s a thoroughly-reported New York Times story about both deals. Here’s an interesting quote from that story:
Blog books are far from a sure thing at the cash register. Gawker.com spawner the book, “The Gawker Guide to Conquering All Media,” which has sold fewer than 1,000 copies since its release in October 2007. A book based on a popular Web site focused on fashion disasters has sold 2,000 copies in its first seven weeks of release, according to Nielsen BookScan.
According to Sara Nelson of Publishers Weekly, Random House will need to sell approximately 75,000 copies of the “Stuff White People Like” book, just to earn back it’s advance. And here’s another interesting point from the story: Media wunderkind Kurt Andersen is apparently involved with the project on some level, and may have been somewhat instrumental in securing the deal in the first place. What was it about the site, you might wonder, that impressed Andersen so much? Ambitious bloggers, take note:
Mr. Andersen said what impressed him about White People’s prospects as a book is that it was already sort of unbloglike. The site is not chockablock with links to other material, but with what amounts to a series of daily essays. “It’s more like a book he’s putting out serially on the Web,” Mr. Andersen said. [New York Times, link]