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>Add ’em up, Bobby

>Could somebody do this math for me? If Sarah Palin did in fact receive seven million dollars for a book contract, how many copies would the publisher have to sell to recoup its cost? Would it be possible?

Yes, I intend to use song references for my blog headings until I get good and tired of it.
Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Beth Kephart says:

    >Let us also then count all the actual writers, the fractured, scraped, but yearning souls who have spent their whole lives crafting a book that now will not find a publishing home because “there is no money left in publishing.” She takes from us all, the gift that keeps on giving.

  2. >Depending on cover price and discounts, say something in the neighborhood of four million copies?

  3. >I’m no fan, but I won’t blame Palin for this. This is some mysterious but persistent tic of the industry.

  4. Roger Sutton says:

    >I don’t blame Palin, either–I’m just trying to wrap my head around the arithmetic. Wikipedia tells me That The Kite Runner has sold ten million copies, if that gives anyone else some sense of perspective.

  5. Beth Kephart says:

    >Ah yes, I don’t mean to blame Palin. I just do grow frustrated. I read so many fine books in manuscript that do not find their place on a bookstore shelf. I read so many fine books that don’t find their way into a Barnes and Noble. Culture gets skewed by deals such as these—whether it is Palin or Tina Fey who gets the lopsided deal.

    In the end, no writer really benefits from such enormous advances. Charles Frazier, for example, probably would have done so much better—as a writer—if the advance for his second book had been within the realm of appropriate. Money is not the measure of success for most writers. But money wisely distributed across the literary spectrum is necessary to keeping culture alive.

  6. >Figure in book-club income, syndication in mags
    and/newspapers, paperback rights,and purchases by RNC devotees. All this, added to conventional bookstore sales, should be enough.

    But then there are the MOVIE RIGHTS!!

  7. >consider he sub rights income: paperback edition, book club edition, syndication in mags and newspapers, movie rights (?) the book should be a goldmine for some lucky publisher – and Palin’s agent!

  8. >If we assume a $30 cover price (Bill Clinton’s MY LIFE was $35, and I don’t think she has QUITE the same weight) and a royalty of –oh–12% (not to mention there could be an escalation…), she’d have to sell 2 million just to earn out her advance! (Though I don’t think she cares much about building a good history at her publisher.)

  9. >Surely her royalty would be more than 12% – more likely 15% and maybe a slide?

  10. >What I’m waiting for is the announcement that it will be a children’s picture book about an unusual moose who learns that it’s okay to be different from all the other moose.

  11. >I’m just feeling smart because I got the post title reference right away.

  12. >or maybe she can have a career as a talkshow personality. wouldn’t it be fun to turn on the radio every day and hear that wonderful syntax?

  13. >with antlers that sparkle!

  14. >The woman can’t even come up with one coherent sentence. Does anybody seriously believe she can write a book? It’s vomititious.

  15. >I don’t care, I intend to keep blaming Palin for EVERYTHING.


  16. >Maybe we should all just stop carrying on about Palin and she will GO AWAY. (Like a naughty child who can see that she’s not the center of attention anymore.)

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