Book publishing - what's the deal?

When Channel 4 News was seeking someone to discuss the recent spate of books from New Labour’s ranks (John Prescott, Lord Levy, Cherie Blair) they wisely chose publishing guru Caroline Michel.

She was asked by Jon Snow how publishers could expect to make a profit when they paid massive advances and were unlikely to earn the money back through book sales. It’s amazing he managed to keep a straight face. HarperCollins paid Snow a rumoured £600,000 for his memoirs in 2004, but sales proved a big disappointment. Who was the big cheese at HarperCollins at the time? Caroline Michel.

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