HarperStudio has pushed a seven-figure stake through the hearts of aspiring wordsmiths everywhere by giving a $1 million, 10-book deal to Twitter-abusing videoblogger Gary Vaynerchuk. Does anyone believe in books anymore?
Vaynerchuk doesn't even read books, let alone show any sign of being able to write them. He's a 33-year-old Belarusian immigrant who pals around with members of San Francisco's Web elite like Digg founder Kevin Rose, but hasn't made much of a splash in the New York media world. But he has 145,000 followers on Twitter, a popular videoblog about wine, and a burgeoning career dispensing advice to wantrepreneurs.
Is there one book in Vaynerchuk, let alone ten? That hardly seems like the point. Recycled 140-character aphorisms from Twitter, pretty pictures of wine, and a built-in audience are what one needs to succeed in the publishing world. Books don't make people famous. Famous people make books.