“Data trumps instinct every time”, to quote Jeff Bezos, back in the mists of time. Publishers around the world have since embraced the idea of understanding their readers and publishing as much as possible to their zeitgeisty requirements. And yet, and yet…
As Little, Brown in the UK count their reorders and profits on the back of the recent phenomenon that is Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, the question has to be asked. Why, exactly, did so many UK publishers turn the book down? Not least, Macmillan’s sister company? Hurrah for independent creative territorial freedoms say many – including the agents, I’m sure. Who wants global conglomerates forcing their local companies to distribute whatever rights are acquired as a matter of course?
But a lot of imprints have somehow missed out on a book which looks set to sell many hundreds of thousands of copies, for a UK advance alleged to be less than £10,000.
Sometimes, publishing still seems to be a massive game of chance.