The megabook syndrome remains alive and kicking. Anyone who views the “next big book syndrome” as a myth need only read a recent Random House press release.
It reported that the market will be soft for the firm because there’s no megabook in the current mix. A CEO from another mainstream imprint made a similar remark last month. He devoted an entire article to the lack of a megabook to drive the industry.
The pressure for books from big-name writers will become more intense than ever. However, major writers don’t guarantee megabooks. I predict that even legacy imprints will be spun off in the not too distant future.
Converse to all this, I found it heartwarming to read that Knopf/Doubleday continues to allow Nan Talese to publish under her own imprint. Even though she still endures the residue from the well-chronicled James Frey debacle, she takes on material for purely literary value. Ms. Talese has worked in the industry since the mid ’50s. One can only hope she has many years left on this Earth.