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Posts Tagged ‘Spiegel & Grau’

Jay-Z Memoir Pages Scattered Around World in Scavenger Hunt

If you’ve got time to spare, money to burn, and an desire to read Jay-Z‘s memoir Decoded before its release date, join the new Bing.com sponsored advertising campaign.

Specific pages of Jay-Z’s memoir will be available at different locations. Fans can join the scavenger hunt and locate these pages using the Bing.com/Jay-Z site. There are prizes as well. Players who discover the pages first can win signed copies of Decoded. The grand prize is a trip to Las Vegas to see Jay-Z and Coldplay play a New Year’s Eve in concert.

The New York Times spoke with David Droga, the Droga5 creative director who oversaw the New York campaign. An excerpt: “While about half of the pages will be displayed in traditional outdoor advertising like billboards, the rest will be offbeat, printed in one instance on the bottom of a hotel swimming pool, in another on the lining of jackets in a store display window, and in another on the felt of pool tables in a pool hall.”

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NYT Discovers Water For Elephants After Everybody Else

Like Publishers Marketplace, I have to wonder: what took so long for Motoko Rich‘s profile of Sara Gruen to run when WATER FOR ELEPHANTS stormed the bestseller lists last summer? I’m guessing it’s the news that Andrew R. Tennenbaum, a co-producer of the Bourne spy movies, optioned the rights to the novel in a deal worth more than $1 million to Gruen if the movie is made. Or that by hitting #1 on the NYT paperback bestseller list, the book has a new life in paperback.

But really, the focus of the piece is on Gruen’s next book, THE APE HOUSE – and especially the eye-popping $5 million-plus advance from Spiegel & Grau for the book and its followup. Cindy Spiegel said she was sure that Gruen could write another hit. “I feel very confident that she can continue writing books that have that same appeal because she has a connection with animals that is rare.” Emma Sweeney, Gruen’s agent, said that given how well WATER FOR ELEPHANTS is selling, “I really felt that the books deserved these numbers.”

More interesting is the reaction from Algonquin, where they are happy for Gruen’s success but perhaps a bit miffed she left. “All publishers think that they can make a best seller happen, but we don’t hear about the ones that don’t work,” said Elisabeth Scharlatt, Gruen’s publisher at Algonquin. “WATER FOR ELEPHANTS could end up being Sara Gruen’s best book.”

Random House Revolving Door Widens Editorial and Marketing/Distribution Dichotomy

Last week’s post about Daniel Menaker‘s exit and the larger implications for Random House served as unwitting inspiration for Sara Nelson‘s column in this week’s issue of Publishers Weekly. After recapping what she terms (and I concur is) a “stunning” number of job switcheroos at Random House, Nelson wonders if all the gossip and chatter misses the overall point: that none of the departing RH executives, going back to Don Weisberg, the COO of RH North America who left in February, were replaced with external hires:

That…suggests that Random is indeed shifting focus, but not necessarily in fiction. At worst, the piling on of new jobs to longtime staffers with already full plates is a form of downsizing; at best, it might be that Random, like most publishers, will soon move its emphasis from the acquiring/editing side of the business to the less sexy but increasingly important distribution and marketing side. Editors and authors will always matter-somebody, after all, has to create all that “content” that will be disseminated in forms perhaps not yet invented—but the focus these days is more on selling direct, on digital “product” and on POD.

Nelson’s larger point is a good one, but I suspect that emphasis already began quite a number of years ago, and not just at Random House. Most of those at the executive level – and by that I mean Publisher, CEO or something in between – tend to come up from the marketing, distribution and publicity sides, and yet if a new imprint is formed, it’s usually named after its founding editor (most recent examples: Spiegel & Grau at Doubleday/Broadway; Amy Einhorn Books at Putnam. At least Twelve, Jonathan Karp‘s imprint at Grand Central Publishing, was never going to be named after him.) Eponymous editorial imprints seem to follow a common trajectory: a big announcement spurring a flurry of news, commentary and speculation; an 18 month or so gestation marked by sprees of acquiring not out of place at 5th Avenue department stores; and after a few years – best personified by the fate of Rob Weisbach‘s imprint at William Morrow in the late 1990s – a near-permanent place in the loss-leading category for the publisher. Never mind the irony that the most successful eponymous imprint, ReganBooks, is no more, shuttered in favor of the more anonymous (and temporary) “HC” logo.

So if, as Nelson concludes, publishing houses’ energies are moving even more strongly towards the “less sexy” side of publishing, perhaps it may make sense to question the wisdom of imprints named after editors – especially when in the end – with the exception of one Ms. Judith Regan – they are just as anonymous to readers as are the marketing & distribution people. In other words (and keeping the elemental theme going) maybe it’s not a question of air or water but earth and fire.