When Good Publicity Money Goes Wrong

July 5th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Not everyone’s memories are appropriate fodder for books. Especially when those memories are relatively humdrum. To wit:

It was at Keewaydin, [Michael] Eisner writes, that he learned the value of mutual respect, teamwork and leadership, along with such enduring life lessons as “Help the other fellow” and “Be a fair winner and a good loser.”

Yes, it’s true. Despite a publicity merry-go-round, Michael Eisner’s book is not selling. This is possibly because while Eisner is somewhat well-known in the greater Los Angeles area (though not as ubiquitious as the industry would like to think), he’s not truly a household name elsewhere. And you don’t need to shell out over twenty dollars to reinforce the notion that teamwork is a good thing.

Despite happy talk from Time Warner —

“It’s definitely a hit in Vermont,” Kirshbaum said. “Unfortunately, Vermont is not one of the major population centers of the United States.”

— it seems the book might not break even. No surprise there. Eisner doesn’t need the money. What we find frustrating is that Eisner doesn’t need the money, isn’t offering anything new or relevatory, and received a boatload of promotional dollars that could have been better spent. Though there’s a small (20,000 to 25,000) gap between BookScan sales and the publisher’s estimates, it’s just as likely that the book would have done fine without the talk show appearances.

This type of marketing feels like it’s appealing to the vanity of the author rather than a legitimate business need, but we don’t have figures for other TW memoirs to use as a comparison. However, a hundred thousand dollars spread among a wider range of titles would surely benefit the TW summer catalog. . .

File Under: Square Pegs