A few weeks ago, Paul Bogaards did something few good publicists, let alone the head of public relations at New York’s most patrician publishing house, would suggest their client do.
In the early hours of Jan. 24, the 51-year-old executive director of publicity and marketing for Knopf posted “The Hierarchy of Book Publishing,” a top-100 ranking of his colleagues and competitors, on his personal Tumblr. Far from a fawning Forbes-style list, Mr. Bogaards’s blog post was a gallows-humor-inflected schematic of an industry in collapse. Books are so screwed, it suggested, that a self-published genre geek (J.A. Konrath, #2), the father of a 4-year-old child who has purportedly been to heaven (Todd Burpo, #4) and the intern running the company Twitter feed (#6) all faced sunnier futures than a feared industry veteran like Andrew Wylie (#11).
A couple hundred publishing-industry observers liked and reblogged the post, including the official Tumblr accounts of Vintage/Anchor, Penguin Press and Pantheon Books.
“It’s funny because it’s true,” Kathryn Ratcliffe-Lee, a HarperCollins assistant, commented.
“AHHHHH PERFECTION,” wrote Emma Straub, the bookstore-clerk-turned-fiction-writer. “And I don’t even get half the jokes.”
Having worked on his exhaustive biography of Lyndon B. Johnson for almost three decades, Robert A. Caro has delivered the manuscript for the fourth installment, leaving only one more volume before the magnum opus is complete. The Passage of Power will be published by Knopf in May, continuing the story begun in The Path to Power (1982), Means of Ascent (1990) and Master of the Senate (2002). Mr. Caro has already won the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award and the books have collectively sold more than 1 million copies.
Before They Were Famous
As the foremost chronicler of the young novelist Tao Lin’s every whim, The Observer was hoping we might break the story of Tao Lin’s next book deal, which he announced he was shopping a couple weeks back. Then, on a Sunday when our moods were already dampened by incessant rain and the looming prospect of Monday, Mr. Lin wrote to inform us that we had lost the story to Mike Vilensky at The Wall Street Journal. So he granted us an interview.
A while back, friends encouraged author Norman Sprinrad to turn his failed French history screenplay into a novel. Doing so would require some connections, of course—did Sprinrad know any New York editors who might be able to make it happen?
Well, I said, I think there’s this guy who was an editor at a secondary Read More
A little after 8 o’clock on Monday, Sept. 14, Knopf Doubleday chairman Sonny Mehta walked outside Gotham Hall, where he was hosting a book party for Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, for a smoke.
The Transom asked Mr. Mehta, who was wearing an expertly tailored dark blue suit and carrying his thin wooden cane, what Read More
After a brief sojourn with Ann Godoff at the Penguin Press, historian David Fromkin is coming home to Knopf, the winner of a four-way auction for his next book. Mr. Fromkin’s agent, Suzanne Gluck of WME Entertainment, said it will be something of a sequel to Mr. Fromkin’s best-known work, A Peace to End All Read More
After years of painful waiting, Doubleday finally has Dan Brown’s follow-up to mega-best-seller The Da Vinci Code and has announced plans to publish it on September 15. The book, titled The Lost Symbol (not The Solomon’s Key, as it was originally called), will have an initial print run of five million, which according to the Read More
Hundreds gathered last night under the shimmering saucer dome of the New York Public Library’s Celeste Bartos Forum to remember John Updike. The lights went down at 7 p.m., and a moment later the screen onstage flickered awake to show the late author seated three years ago in the very same room, Read More
Wednesday, March 18
Phew! We survived St. Patrick’s Day without being run over by a beer-swilling, laid-off trader from Hoboken! (We went there once in our early 20s to celebrate this “holiday” and weren’t quite right for years …) Who would guess that St. Patrick was actually an upstanding Christian missionary and not the Read More
The dramatic reorganization of Random House initiated a month and a half ago by new C.E.O. Markus Dohle came one step closer to completion this morning, as the publisher of the company’s biggest division—the flagship Random House Publishing Group—sent a memo to staff announcing a new executive structure.
The length and Read More