Sunday, January 24, 2010

No Comment Department

James Patterson Inc. - NYTimes.com: "There are many different ways to catalog Patterson’s staggering success. Here are just a few: Since 2006, one out of every 17 novels bought in the United States was written by James Patterson."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

7 comments:

Jerry House said...

"One out of every 17 novels bought in the United States was written by James Patterson"

Or, at least, outlined by him.

Dave Zeltserman said...

The article concisely defines how publishing broke (or at least how the midlist died):

"The story of the blockbuster’s explosion is, paradoxically, bound up with that of publishing’s recent troubles. They each began with the wave of consolidation that swept through the industry in the 1980s. Unsatisfied with publishing’s small margins, the new conglomerates that now owned the various publishing houses pressed for bigger best sellers and larger profits. Mass-market fiction had historically been a paperback business, but publishers now put more energy and resources into selling these same books as hardcovers, with their vastly more favorable profit margins. At the same time, large stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders were elbowing out independent booksellers. Their growing dominance of the market gave them the leverage to demand wholesale discounts and charge hefty sums for favorable store placement, forcing publishers to sell still more books. Big-box stores like Costco accelerated the trend by stocking large quantities of books by a small group of authors and offering steep discounts on them. Under pressure from both their parent companies and booksellers, publishers became less and less willing to gamble on undiscovered talent and more inclined to hoard their resources for their most bankable authors. The effect was self-fulfilling. The few books that publishers invested heavily in sold; most of the rest didn’t. And the blockbuster became even bigger."

Bill Crider said...

That pretty much sums it up, all right. A sad story for some of us.

Anonymous said...

Patterson was teh 800 pound gorilla that broke the system once and for all...and he's proud of it.

Jeff

Bill Crider said...

I don't care for his books, but I have to admit that he played the system and won.

Dale Denton said...

I actually haven't read any of his. I think I own one given to me by my mom-in-law, but it's still in my round-tuit bookcase. So you can't blame me :-)

Dave's commentary is so true, though you can go back further to B. Daltons and Waldenbooks as starting the trend with their strong grip on the market back before B&N and Borders rose up and outcompeted them and eventually bought them.

Bill Crider said...

The Big Guys rule. Patterson's top of the heap.