Donna Tartt Leaves Knopf: Can Publishing Be Saved?

By Neal Comment

donna-tartt-headshot.jpgOver at Publishers Marketplace, the lead item in yesterday’s daily deal newsletter was the sale of Donna Tartt‘s third novel to Little, Brown, ending a relationship with Knopf that began more than sixteen years ago when they accepted The Secret History for publication. (It’s said that novel has sold more than five million copies; her second book, The Little Friend, was published in 2002 and sold 146,000 copies in hardcover through outlets reporting to Nielsen Bookscan; the trade paperback sold an additional 177,000 copies.) This new, as-yet-untitled novel is described in Little, Brown’s press release as “a story of loss and obsession about a young man, guilt-stricken and damaged after the death of his mother, and the growing power that a stolen piece of art exercises over him, drawing him into an underworld of theft and corruption where nothing is as it seems.”

The release also quotes Little, Brown publisher Michael Pietsch, who says “we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with her in bringing her next novel to readers.” That echo you hear is reverb from Tom Wolfe‘s arrival at Little, Brown back in January, when Pietsch declared that the company was “exhilarated to be working with Tom Wolfe to bring his new novel to readers in the Internet age.” Speaking of Wolfe, if we evaluate this new deal by the benchmark established by New York with regard to his defection to Little, Brown, it should be obvious that the entire book publishing industry has been upended.

(photo: Wikipedia)