Book Industry Steams Full Speed Ahead

With the economy languishing in the doldrums, the good news is that the book business is steaming full speed ahead, thanks primarily to biographies and autobiographies galore which are selling like the proverbial hotcakes.  

Sen. Ted Kennedy’s “True Compass” autobiography has become very popular upon the death of the U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.  

Capt. Chesley Sullenberger reflects on his life and the miraculous landing in the Hudson River in “Highest Duty.”  

And, due to the recently released film “Julie & Julia,” Julia Child, though deceased, is again the country’s most popular cookbook writer and her longtime editor, Judith Jones, even has a memoir out about her own love of food. 

Not to be outstripped, supermodel and TV star Heidi Klum is also getting into the visual autobiography act, and her status is about to get a whole lot steamier thanks to a new very sexy coffee table book on her called “Rankin’s Heidilicious” which is due out in October from publisher teNeues. 

“It’s very naughty, I’ve been shooting with this photographer, Rankin, for seven years and working with him is fun because he always makes me look different,” Klum says.  “He always gets me to take my clothes off for some reason. We’ll do some job and then he’ll say, ‘Why don’t we shoot some more things?’ and I’ll wind up without anything on.” 

In fact, steaming hot book sales have been the order of the day for many book industry genres.  The Association of American Publishers, which had been reporting declines for much of this year, finally had some good news last week, announcing a whopping 21.5 percent sales increase for June. 

Adding to the sizzling book revenue upswing, Las Vegan and eight-time Grand Slam tennis singles champion Andre Agassi, who retired from professional tennis in 2006, has recently announced that his autobiography, “Open,” is heading to bookstore shelves in November. In the book, he discusses his start in tennis as a child, his relationship with his father and his failed marriage to Brooke Shields. AndreAgassi2

Andre Agassi’s autobiography will be published by Alfred A. Knopf and be out on November 9 says Sonny Mehta, Chairman of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. 

“Open” is a deeply personal account of Agassi’s life on and off the court and will be simultaneously published in Canada, England, Germany, France and the Netherlands. 

The Knopf first printing has been set at 500,000 copies, and it will also be available as a Random House audio book. 

Moreover, ’60 Minutes’ has agreed to conduct the first interview with Agassi about his autobiography and ‘People’ magazine and ‘Sports Illustrated’ have both purchased first serial rights to the book. 

“No one ever asked me if I wanted to play tennis,” Agassi writes, “let alone make it my life.” In “Open,” he recalls for the first time a childhood without choices. Forced to embrace tennis, banished to a brutal tennis camp while still in grade school, catapulted to fame while still in his teens, Agassi grew up feeling isolated, alienated, detached.   He writes on how he reconnected, how he overcame his fears, fought through his loneliness, found strength and purpose in the decision to devote his life to others — and in the love of one extraordinary woman. 

Agassi writes with uncommon candor about his father, his family, his best friends and first loves. He recounts the intimate details of his doomed marriage to Brooke Shields. 

Agassi describes the grind of playing championship tennis, the physical toll and greater mental toll. He recalls his most painful moments in the sport — humiliating defeats, career-threatening injuries, ridicule from fans and media — but celebrates the maturity to which they all led. He also puts his fellow players, including legendary greats, under the microscope of his astounding memory. With precision and grace he recalls their quirks, gifts, foibles, and the demons with which they often struggled.

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