Today in books: Mitt Romney will be the subject of a big, comprehensive biography, the size of the Kindle Million Club is getting out of control, and World War Z sells one million copies at its own pace.
- Boston Globe Washington Bureau Chief Michael Cranish and staff writer Scott Helman have signed a deal with HarperCollins to write a "definitive, unflinching" biography of former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. The book, somewhat ominously titled The Real Romney, is slated to come out in January. Along with "previously undisclosed memos, e-mails, and interviews with key players," the project will draw on the five years both men spent covering Romney. Which is fine, but we don't see much room for red meat. From the press release:
"The Real Romney explores Romney’s personal life, his bond with his wife and how they handled her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, and his difficult years as a Mormon missionary in France, where a fatal car crash had a profound effect on his path. It also illuminates Romney’s privileged upbringing in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, his rejection of the 1960s protest culture, and his close but complicated relationship with his father.”
The details of Anne Romney's illness and her busband's very close call on a highway in France have been known for some time. It doesn't have to be a hatchet job, but we don't want that stuff about his "privileged upbringing" and "close but complicated" relationship with his politician father getting in the way of juicy details about Romney's education in bareknuckle Massachusetts politics. [GalleyCat]
- Membership in the Kindle Million Club, once reserved for superstar commercial novelists and series writers who could produce multiple new works in a calendar year, has become increasingly less selective as sales of Amazon's eReader continue to soar. The three latest inductees are David Baldacci, Stephanie Meyer, and self-publisher Amanda Hocking. They bring the total number of authors to sell a million eBooks to 14. Back in August, there were only eight. [TeleRead]
- It took just over five years, but World War Z, Max Brooks's oral history of man's war against the undead, has crossed the one million copies sold barrier. The hardcover was published in September 2006, well before zombiemania, but has plugged away across various formats, despite being outsold by Brooks's follow-up zombie survival guide. With a movie version starring Brad Pitt set to hit theaters over Christmas and the undead continuing to move with a spring in their step at the box office, that number's just going to keep growing. [Publishers Weekly]
- Little, Brown pulled QR Markham's Assassin of Secrets after being alerted by an anonymous tipster that whole chunks of the spy book had been plagiarized. Most of the lifted passages came from James Bond stories, but there was some Robert Ludlum as well. The lifting is so blatant and defiant, The New Yorker's Macy Halford wonders: "How did Rowan think he’d get away with this, especially in the era of Google?" She can't quite settle on a satisfying answer. There's always the possibility he's just a serial literary lifter, but his history as a used booksalesman -- with a particular fetish for spy books -- suggests this could all be some elaborate performance piece, a literary mashup for fans of the genre. Or he could be using the controversy to gin up buzz for the book when it does become available. If this were a spy novel, he'd have an angle, one that would probably involve smuggling nuclear submarine codes in the boxes of books sent out to pulp. [The New Yorker]