They say everyone has a book in them. But apparently not all of those stories are created equal. Enter: Celebrity memoirs. Stories are just like anything else in this world — there are good ones and there are very bad ones. The disparity can be alarming (especially with celebrity memoirs).
The good ones are appreciated, even celebrated, and those from whom they come are rewarded. The bad ones, however, largely go unnoticed and are far from appreciated.
Some stories, undoubtedly, are worth more than others — at least to major book publishers. It seems that these companies have gone the way of professional sports teams, issuing record-breaking contracts to get talented people to sign on the dotted line. In the publishing industry, that means for the rights to personal stories. Really, it’s pretty unbelievable.
Let’s take President and Michelle Obama, for example. Following their exit from the White House back at the beginning of the year, it was announced that publishers waged a bidding war over the rights to their next books.
QUICK READ: Are physical books making a comeback?
The winner (if you want to call them that): Penguin Random House, with a final price tag of a reported $65 million. Not a bad reward for a couple who spent the last eight years, for better or worse, in the critical lens of the globe.
But I get it, he was the leader of America. Of course the story he has to tell is going to seek millions. This isn’t the first former president to garner such a large deal. Bill and Hillary Clinton have tallied more than $50 million on various books over the years, according to Forbes. And that amount does not include Hillary’s most recent memoir, What Happened, which was released last week.
Regardless of how good the stories actually are, people who spend their lives in the public eye are fetching extremely large contracts. Back at the beginning of August, former FBI Director Jim Comey inked a book deal of his own, which some experts peg well in the millions.
QUICK READ: Why do we let numbers speak for literature?
All of this begs the question, what’s the value of a story? Is it in the quality of the tale itself, or is it strictly its marketability?
These days, it seems it’s only about the latter.