Publishers Sure Like These Doggone Books

By Carmen Comment

At the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jen A. Miller sees the aftermath of the incredible success of John Grogan‘s MARLEY AND ME, which sold so many copies that like-minded books by Caroline Knapp, Andrew DePrisco and others would inevitably follow. It helps that according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 63 percent of U.S. homes include a pet, and of those households, 43 percent have dogs. We’re also spending more money on our pets than ever, an estimated $38.4 billion in 2006. Compare that to $21 billion in 1996.

“The market for good dog authors is humming,” said DePrisco, editor in chief of Kennel Club Books and author of the forthcoming WOOF! A GAY MAN’S GUIDE TO DOGS (BowTie Press). “The publishing world has recognized that the dog-owning population in the U.S. is expanding, and dogs continue to be a favorite topic to read about,” he says. And the trend’s not about to stop anytime soon, Miller says, “because there are so many of us dog owners out there, and these books confirm to dog owners that we’re not crazy for buying the more expensive food, for talking to our pets in ridiculously high-pitched, silly voices (my voice for Emily sounds like Elmo), and for panicking when we think about how we’ll go on when the dog dies.”

DeCrisco has another prediction for the direction of the dog-book craze. “A doggy memoir by a great Hollywood star or favorite talk-show host could be the next craze. The quality of these memoirs will be various, of course, depending on the skill of the ghost writer and/or editors. One thing’s certain: Dog lovers will never be short of new reading material.”