Beast Books–as it’s being called–will crank its books out in a shorter period of time to capitalise on people’s shorter interests in a topic. As opposed to big blow-out books that run three hundred pages and take over a year to report, write, and edit, these will be only be around 150 pages. Think of them as really long magazine stories.
The still not-profitable site will be used as a launching point for the books both editorially and promotionally. Tina Brown, who runs The Daily Beast, will use freelance authors from her site to write the books which will first be available as e-books, then will be printed. Here’s the economics of the deal:
Perseus is paying The Daily Beast a five-figure management advance to cover the costs of editing and designing the books, and Perseus will distribute the titles through its existing sales force. The writers will receive low five-figure advances from Perseus and then split profits from the sale of both the e-books and paperbacks with Perseus and The Daily Beast. Ms. Brown said writers are not required to give Beast Books a first right of refusal on any book ideas they might generate.
Both Ms. Brown and David Steinberger, chief executive of Perseus, declined to say exactly how the profits would be split, but Mr. Steinberger said authors would receive “meaningfully more” than the typical 15 per cent of the hardcover price that authors currently receive as royalties in more traditional book contracts.
We don’t know if it’s necessarily a great business idea, but as readers, we’re excited to see it. There’s plenty of well written long form magazine stories we wish were even longer. Having books that quickly fill that gap sounds interesting to us.