I have nothing against Pippa Middleton. Apparently, if the newspapers are to be believed, she has a nice arse and I have no reason to doubt the fourth estate on this matter. Indeed, I think it’s only a matter of time before she will be awarded Rear of the Year by some publication or other.
What has dismayed me, however, is the news that she is being given a £400,000 advance by Penguin Books’ commercial imprint, Michel Joseph, for a book on party planning advice. I’m not going to criticise Pippa since it’s not her fault that someone’s offered her such a ludicrous sum, and who would turn that amount of money down?
But what are the publishers thinking?
At various times, there have been different innovations that have been identified as heralding the end of books, whether it be television, computer games, or even more recently ebooks, although the latter still encourage people to read.
What is more likely to herald the end of books – at least the physical version – are publishers who pay ludicrous advances for vacuous books such as Pippa Middleton’s ‘Party Planning My Arse’ (or whatever it’s going to be called).
That is £400,000 which could be, and should be, better spent. For example, pay twenty first-time authors an advance of £20,000 in order to help them write their novel. That would be twenty new books produced, and could lead to the discovery or development of genuine writing talent. Pay forty writers £10,000 each…. You see where I’m going with this.
Not only is paying Pippa Middleton £400,000 a waste of money, but I’m guessing that she won’t actually write the book herself.
Good book shops are rapidly disappearing from our town centres, while the major supermarkets are filling their shelves with a small selection of books for us to choose from, mainly ‘written’ by celebrities, all of which is being fed by publishers throwing money at ‘famous’ names.
It’s a depressing feature of publishing, and I can only urge you all not to buy Pippa Middleton’s book when it comes out next year, no matter how nice her arse might be.
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