Saturday, October 24, 2009

The $150 Million Bargain?

About a month ago we received a new book from James Patterson called The Murder of King Tut. This nonfiction volume was preceded in August by a Patterson novel entitled Alex Cross's Trial, and, a month earlier, the latest in Patterson's "Daniel X" series for young adults. November will see the publication of his novel, I, Alex Cross, and a children's book from him is expected before the end of the year. In all, during a twelve-month period beginning this past March, ten different books bearing the name James Patterson on the dust jacket either have been or will be published. Granted, about half of the titles will also have the name of a co-author, but it's the Patterson name that will almost guarantee all of these books will be bestsellers.

Thus, as a recent Forbes article pointed out, it may indeed have represented a bargain for Hachette, Patterson's publisher, when they recently signed him to a new contract for a reported $150 million. Although Hachette wouldn't confirm the dollar amount, we do know the contract calls for Patterson to produce seventeen more books before the end of 2012. And, in addition to obviously having a knack for prolifically writing bestsellers, Patterson knows his marketing -- he's the former chairman of the J. Walter Thompson ad agency. It's a formula that over the past two years has earned Hachette an estimated $500 million. Suddenly, $150 million doesn't sound like quite so much money.

By the way, Patterson spends a few of those rare moments he's not writing helping to promote the love of reading for the next generation. His website dedicated to that can be found here.

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