It’s not often that a backlist title about global economics sparks a bidding war. But that’s what happened at last month's Frankfurt Book Fair, after the Nobel Prize committee announced on October 12 that Princeton University professor Angus Deaton won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Economics.
Not only did the Princeton professor's 2013 book, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality (Princeton University Press) experience an immediate spike in sales, it also began selling in a flurry of foreign deals, with publishers in six countries--Germany, Brazil, France, Portugal, Poland, and Vietnam--acquiring rights. For PUP the interest generated in the book led to record-breaking foreign sales.
“The German deal was the highest value advance the press has recorded in its history,” noted Jenny Redhead, a PUP international rights executive, who is based at the press’ offices in the U.K. Redhead added that interest in The Great Escape overshadowed “stellar” new offerings from the press.
Foreign rights to The Great Escape, which officially went on offer at the 2013 London Book Fair, were acquired by seven publishers prior to the October 12 announcement.
When the Nobel Prize committee made its announcement on October 12, PUP had sold roughly 12,000 copies of The Great Escape in hardcover, and 1,000 copies of the paperback edition, which was issued in May. Since October 12, PUP has sold another 9,000 copies total in both editions in the U.S. and approximately 6,000 copies in the U.K., Europe, and the Middle East.