Is Janet Evanovich worth $50 million? That was the question we asked ourselves in this week's magazine. Although no numbers have been disclosed, Evanovich now has a new publisher, having signed a four book deal with Random House's Ballantine Bantam Dell division.

After Evanvoich's longtime house, St. Martin's Press, played down rumors that she might defect after asking for a pay day in the neighbohrood of $50 million for her next four books, the author indeed left. A Random House rep refused to comment on how much the deal was worth. Now BBD, which took world rights in the deal, is planning its first Evanovich title for mid-2011.

In Random House's release about the deal, the company touted some impressive statistics, citing the fact that 75 million copies of Evanovich's 33 novels have sold worldwide. The house went on: "Her new titles are huge simultaneous e-book bestsellers, as is her backlist, and each of Ms.Evanovich's novels also are million-copy paperback bestsellers. Her foreign sales also are large and growing."

World rights for the new Evanovich novels were acquired by BBD editor-in-chief Jennifer Hershe. Two of the books will be Stephanie Plum novels, and the other two will be in the author's newer "Unmentionable" series.