Penguin pounces

Publishing house acquires Greenspan book

NEW YORK — At least a week of bidding and speculation ended Tuesday when Penguin Press announced it had acquired world rights to a book by former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan.

Reports indicate price is between $7 million and $9 million.

Greenspan is expected to mix memoir with economic outlook in tome. While not known for his charisma, the ex-Fed chair presided over several cycles of boom and bust, and his experience will likely make the book a must-read for anyone interested in the country’s economic future.

“His book will be about what we can know, what we can’t know and what we should do about it,” said Penguin Press topper Ann Godoff. Book is skedded for release in 2007.

Deal was negotiated by Washington, D.C., attorney Robert Barnett, who reps many of the country’s notable political figures — especially Democrats — including Bill Clinton, John Edwards and Madeleine Albright. HarperCollins and several other large Gotham houses were reportedly in the running but dropped out, presumably because of price.

Although advances for celebrity books have cooled somewhat in recent years, biz-world figures still tend to command high prices, with Warren Buffett drawing a reported seven figures last fall for North American rights to a book.

And the Penguin Press can recoup money from subsidiary rights such as foreign rights sales, as Knopf did for another high-profile Barnett buy, the memoir of Bill Clinton.

Scott Moyers, who will edit the Greenspan tome, and acquiring editor Godoff have in the past been known for spending heavily on authors, though rarely big-name celebs; Godoff notably paid Charles Frazier several million dollars for a follow-up to his bestselling “Cold Mountain” on the strength of a small amount of material.