Richards rolls book with publisher

Little, Brown nabs rights to memoir

It’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but they like it.

Little, Brown has scored world English-language rights (outside the U.K.) to the memoir of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. The publisher declined to disclose the cost of the deal, but published reports put it between $7 million and $8 million.

The first authorized Stones tome, to be written with James Fox, is expected to be out in fall 2010, senior VP and publisher Michael Pietsch said Tuesday. Pietsch will edit the book.

Richards’ lit agent, Ed Victor, staged an auction involving just three publishers, though by last week, only Little, Brown and HarperCollins were still in the mix.

Bill Clinton’s post-presidency advance, estimated at $10 million-$12 million, is tops for any author. While dodging the pricetag issue, Little, Brown highlighted the unusual nature of the project.

“Keith Richards has stood cool at the center of the hurricane for nearly 50 years,” said Pietsch. “His story, in his own words — the band, the songs, the tours, the life — will be the most eagerly awaited book ever to come out of the hallowed halls of rock ‘n’ roll.”

Fox’s books include “White Mischief,” a 1982 account of the unsolved murder of the 22nd Earl of Erroll in Kenya in 1941.

Little, Brown acquired world rights together with Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the U.K., and the editions will be published simultaneously. Little, Brown and Weidenfeld & Nicolson are divisions of Hachette Livre.

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