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Monday, June 25, 2007

That's a Lott

The New York Times reports on Ruthless Rupert Murdoch

It seems that he was very generous to Trent Lott when Congress was debating how many TV stations he could own.

Congress was on the verge of limiting any company from owning local television stations that reached more than 35 percent of American homes. Mr. Murdoch’s Fox stations reached nearly 39 percent, meaning he would have to sell some.

A strike force of Mr. Murdoch’s lobbyists joined other media companies in working on the issue. The White House backed the industry, and in a late-night meeting just before Thanksgiving, Congressional leaders agreed to raise the limit — to 39 percent.

One leader of the Congressional movement to limit ownership was Senator Trent Lott, Republican of Mississippi. But in the end, he, too, agreed to the compromise. It turns out he had a business connection to Mr. Murdoch. Months before, HarperCollins, Mr. Murdoch’s publishing house, had signed a $250,000 book deal to publish Mr. Lott’s memoir, “Herding Cats,” records and interviews show.

[really huge multipage skip]

Mr. Lott’s book sold 12,000 copies, according to Nielsen Bookscan, which tracks about 70 percent of all domestic retail and Internet sales.

OK so that would imply an estimate of 12,000/0.7 copies so 250,000*0.7/12,000 = $14.5833... per book (fourteen dollars and figty eight and one third cents).

That sounds huge to me. Odd that I had to skip pages to compare the total royalties to sales. I have no idea how much authors get, but googling tells me that 10% is a normal royalty and I doubt the book cost over $ 140. Also an author claims he gets $ 1.25 a book. Google answers has a reference to a sliding scale

are typically broken out on a scale according to the number of copies
sold, such as:

10% on the first 5000 copies
12.5% on the next 5000 copies
15% over 10,000 copies

Which would give Sen Lott an average royalty of 13.86% given the guess of 12,000/0.7 = 17,143 copies so the price per book would be $ 105.23 (usually the scale is applied to the wholesale price!).

Now could have gotten the list and wholesale prices from Harper Collins and saved the heavy arithmetic. Also why the gap between the $250,000 and the 12,000 copies ? And why did I have to google normal royalties ?

Anyway it sure seems to me that Lott got 3 to 7 times normal royalties just about the time he was helping his colleagues decide how many TV stations Rupert Murdoch could own.

Didn't Jim Wright get nailed for less ?


Anonymous said...

Nicely done.

Blogger comments and my home computer do not get along, and the format does not allow me to know what or where I have responded, so I am commenting less for fear of crashing and more confusion than I am usually subjec to.

Notice however that we went in a matter of a few weeks from cheers for Iraqis fighting al-s to ever more insane self-defeating violence all of which we are part of.

We must of course leave Iraq immediately, as we have needed to leave Iraq for more than 4 years and needed never to have entered Iraq to begin with, but of course there are always reasons for not leaving Iraq.


Anonymous said...

The idea that standing for peace might be morally and strategically proper is lost these years, as though Martin Luther King had never been. Surge on.