Between the recession and the weakened state of publishing, nothing good has been predicted both for the industry and holiday book sales. But you'd never know it by the insane advances that celeb books—some submitted to publishers without so much as a proposal—are getting. In the wake of Tina Fey's $6 million advance for a book of humorous essays, Sarah Silverman's $2.5 million dollar advance for the idea of a collection of comedic essays, and a sure-to-be-huge advance for a Jerry Seinfeld book on the horizon (some estimate $7 million, which would put him on par with Tom Wolfe's last advance), many in publishing are railing against huge book advances that Galleycat sensibly points out will never earn out. Dan Strone, however, who is Seinfeld, Silverman, and Tori Spelling's literary agent, tells the Observer today about the celeb-book pissing matches amongst publishers: "I don't make people spend the money." No, but he does happily collect his 15% cut!
Do you think the economic environment makes these celebrity-driven books more likely to attract interest from publishers than they used to?
I think there’s always going to be a market for books that publishers think are going to sell a lot of copies. People don’t spend money on stuff unless they think they’re gonna make money. That’s just common sense. You’re not gonna report something you don’t think anyone cares about, right? It’s the same thing. [New York Observer]
Actually, reputable news outlets (not this one!) do report on stuff even when they don't think anyone cares about. It's their responsibility—at least, until all the newspapers are dead.