Showbiz Sandbox 184: How Authors Rig The Bestseller Lists

March 4, 2013

When Soren Kaplan’s “Leapfrogging” was published last summer it immediately appeared on the Wall Street Journal’s list of best-selling business books, a position that would be maintained for only a week. That was more than enough time for Kaplan to cement his status as a best-selling author which, in-turn, helps him land lucrative speaking and consulting gigs.

That is precisely why Kaplan hired a marketing firm to purchase copies of the book upon publication to assure it would appear on bestseller lists. During an interview with the Journal, Kaplan reveals how authors buying their way onto the bestseller list is a dirty little secret the publishing industry would prefer you not know about.

Dreamworks Animation is not being completely honest either. They took huge write-downs on their most recent release “Rise of the Guardians” and faulted the film’s weak performance as the reason for laying of 400 employees. However many question whether the company’s decision to move some of their production to China may have more to do with it.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment headlines including the best yearly music sales since 1999, the end of Daily Variety and whether NBC is looking to part ways with Jay Leno (again).

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Showbiz Sandbox 29: Camped Out For “Twilight: New Moon”

November 16, 2009

There was a debate over titling this week’s episode “The Profanity Podcast “due to some various disagreements and the name of a new sitcom. Intrigued? Read on.

Harry Medved from Fandango.com joins us briefly to talk about next week’s number one movie at the box office, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” (Did we get the name right? Can’t we just call it “New Moon” or “Twilight 2”?) Yes, that’s right, we’re prognosticating next week’s number one movie in North America. Hey, when women of all ages are lining up just to catch a glimpse of Robert Pattinson and/or Taylor Lautner at the premiere, you know you might have a hit on your hands.

Speaking of hits, is Twentieth Century Fox taking a huge risk by bankrolling a film based on an unfamiliar story with no Hollywood superstars and a budget approaching $500 million? We’re talking about “Avatar,” and particularly Michael Cieply’s article in the New York Times’ on the film directed by James Cameron. (So, is Cameron himself not a superstar?) John Horn and Claudia Eller from the Los Angeles Times write that the movie’s price tag continues to climbe and that its global marketing campaign could cost as much as $150 million, “Avatar” won’t have to do “Titanic” business to make money, but it will have to fill auditoriums around the world for weeks to become profitable. Read more

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