Life’s handed many Americans a pile of lemons lately. But the book biz is looking to make lemonade.
Even as the nation’s financial crisis continues to unfold, publishers are scrambling to cash in, snapping up pitches on the meltdown by high-profile journos. Prominent among them is a proposed book by New York Times reporter Joe Nocera and Vanity Fair scribe Bethany McLean, the latter of whom memorably outlined Enron’s financial shenanigans.
These tomes, the earliest of which is expected to arrive in electronic form by year’s end, join a cluster of books related to the ongoing credit crisis, some of which are being frantically rewritten to reflect the latest news.
But none can match Warren Buffett for timing. While the Oracle of Omaha’s bio had been in the works for several years, it hit bookstore shelves just last week, on the day the Dow plunged the most points ever.
“The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life,” written by Alice Schroeder, has been selling briskly since then, quickly hitting the top of Amazon’s book chart and staying there.
Bantam expected to have a better read on initial sales this week, but a rep says it’s already logged reorders for “Snowball,” which had an initial print run of 1 million copies on Sept. 29.
The rep admits that Bantam never could have anticipated such timing — which could be seen as exquisite, or painful, depending on the point of view.
“We invested in Warren Buffett a long time ago,” she says. “But he seems ever prescient.”
Although some lit mavens fret that interest in the financial crisis will have waned by the time the wave of books now being readied hit shelves, the widening credit crunch suggests recovery won’t happen overnight. In the meantime, finance mavens like Buffett, and cablers such as CNBC, which had its best ratings ever Sept. 29, will be poised to cash in on the misfortune of others.