The economics behind a celebrity’s book

Conrad Wilson Jun 30, 2014
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The economics behind a celebrity’s book

Conrad Wilson Jun 30, 2014
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Sales of Hillary Clinton’s most recent book, “Hard Choices,” slipped significantly after its first week on sale. 

Clinton was reportedly paid a multi-million dollar advance by her publisher Simon & Schuster, raising questions from some about whether the publisher’s bet will pay off.

“I do think it’s doing well,” Kate McKean, vice president at Howard Morhaim Literary Agency, says of the book. “She’s not going anywhere, so this book could potentially sell, and probably will sell for years and years.”

Still, even with books by celebrities that seem destined to be best sellers, publishers are taking a gamble, says Brian DeFiore, a New York-based literary agent.

“How much do we believe in this person?,” DeFiore says. “How much do we believe the public wants to hear from this person and hear more about this person? And then, how much will that person’s voice resonate for years to come?”

Something else publishers taking into account: global sales. And given Clinton’s fame, DeFiore says it’s book that should sell around the world.

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