November 3, 2004

News & Opinion: Platinum Titles

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 5:44 PM – Filed under: Publishing Industry

I ran out of time yesterday to get this posted. The Wall Street Journal ran an article on Tuesday titled "To Publishers, Megahits Mean Very Big Numbers" [sub. needed]. The piece talks about the growing expectations and dependence publishers have for bestsellers. In the early 90's, 1 million copies sold was a big deal and now the bar is 5 million copies. This has been driven by the likes of The Da Vinci Code, the Harry Potter series, and The Purpose Driven Life. The article talks a lot about Mitch Albom and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. This month the book is likely to pass the five million book mark. I found the business numbers interesting - "[publisher] Hyperion will generate $50 million in revenue at five-million mark, on which it will earn an estimated $15 million in operating profit.". Let me just add the biz book perspective. The only titles that have come close to these kind of numbers are Built to Last (3.5 million copies) and Good to Great (>1 million copies).

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.