About a week shy of its first anniversary, online magazine the Daily Beast is getting into the book business. On Monday, editor Tina Brown announced a joint venture with Perseus Books to release a series of short, topical e-books quickly followed by paperback editions. The new imprint, Beast Books, plans to publish three to five titles in the next year.
Brown, who cofounded the Daily Beast last October, told the New York Times that Beast Books would operate on an accelerated publishing schedule, with authors taking no more than three months to submit completed manuscripts and editors wrapping up their work in mere weeks. “There is a real window of interest when people want to know something,” she said. “And that window slams shut pretty quickly in the media cycle.” The imprint aims to expand the Daily Beast’s coverage of news and opinion, with books being commissioned from the site’s existing stable of (mostly freelance) writers.
Under the new partnership, Perseus will pay the Daily Beast a five-figure advance to cover editing and design expenses. Profits from the sale of e-books and paperbacks—which will be distributed by Perseus—will be split between the publisher, the magazine, and authors, who will also receive low five-figure advances. Although books that have debuted electronically before being released in print have traditionally sold poorly, Perseus CEO David Steinberger told the Times that authors could expect “meaningfully more” than the usual 15 percent royalty stipulated in hardcover contracts.
Beast Books will publish its first title, CNN contributor John P. Avlon’s “Attack of the Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America,” as an e-book in December. A paperback print run of one hundred thousand copies is scheduled to follow in January.