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?
Sara Nelson (herself a victim of the collapsing book publishing industry) got the scoop for the Wall Street Journal, and judging by her description of the deal, apparently not.
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.
Here's a current sampling of the sort of twattle that will fuel his next ten books:
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.