As far as most publishers were concerned, the battle for polling expert Nate Silver’s books came to a close last Friday when Penguin Group USA beat out a number of other houses in an intense best-bid auction that reached a sum in the neighborhood of $700,000.
For several publishers within Penguin, however—that is, all of the ones whose interest in Mr. Silver’s books was subsumed under the "house bid" Penguin submitted last week to his literary agent Sydelle Kramer—that was only round one. Round two took place over the course of the past week, as Mr. Silver and his agent considered their options.
There were lots! At least three Penguin imprints were in the mix, among them Geoff Kloske’s Riverhead, Paul Slovak’s Viking, and Ann Godoff’s Penguin Press. Then, as of yesterday, the game was over, and everyone but Ms. Godoff had taken their ball and gone home.
According to Tracy Locke, the publicity director at the Penguin Press, Mr. Silver’s two books—one a Freakonomics-style book on polling called Electrometrics and the second a survey of people who predict things for a living—will not be published in the order that the author originally had in mind. The "predictors" one will come out first, though it’s unclear exactly when, Ms. Locke said, and the one about polling will come out in time for the 2012 election. Laura Stickney will edit.
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