Matthew Flamm, reporting for Crain’s New York Business, says Penguin Press has made the final BIG bid on a new book about the upcoming 2012 presidential campaign by the authors of the best-seller Game Change (Mark Halperin on left in picture and John Heilemann on right).
Book publishers must think the 2012 presidential campaign will be even more eventful and historic than 2008’s. The Penguin Press, an imprint of the Penguin Group (USA), has just emerged as the winning bidder for the next election-year book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, authors of the current best seller and media sensation Game Change.
The price: a whopping $5 million-plus, according to several executives with knowledge of the bidding.
The deal was reached earlier this week between Penguin Press Publisher Ann Godoff and literary agent Andrew Wylie and his associate Scott Moyers. Despite Game Change’s success, which has been fueled by the book’s wealth of 2008 campaign gossip and revelations, publishing veterans were shocked by the payout.
“This is presidential memoir level money,” said one executive familiar with the deal.
Others wondered about the wisdom of betting large on an election season that is still a long way off, and which may not match 2008 for drama, intrigue and soap opera plot twists.
At more than $5 million, the deal is one of the biggest in recent memory, and harks back to a period before the recession ate into book sales and put pressure on houses to hold down costs. But the giant price tag is also representative of a trend among publishers toward making bigger bets on known commodities.
Published in January by HarperCollins—which dropped out of this week’s race after its initial offer was turned down—Game Change has been on the New York Times Best-Sellers List for the past nine weeks.
It has sold 356,000 hardcover copies according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 75% of the retail market.
Spokespersons for The Penguin Press and Penguin Group could not be reached, nor could Messrs. Wylie and Moyers.