Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The amount of paper required for Paper Towns?

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Dutton or Penguin or Hank or John Green. I'm just a casual observer with an interest in numbers (and Numb3rs).

Yesterday, YA author John Green and his brother, environmentalist Hank Green, spoke on NPR's All Things Considered about their Brotherhood 2.0 video blogging project. Brothers Reconnect Using Video Blogging. I have all my usual thoughts about the Brotherhood 2.0 project of course: Nerdfighters rule! Why didn't I think of this, because my sister is totally a YouTube star in the making? Why am I not even half as smart and cool as John and Hank? But my biggest ponderance?

I wonder what the first print run of Paper Towns is going to look like.

Background: Those who know me know that I love book industry gossip. I have this weird ability to remember not just titles and authors of books, but who publishes them. Go ahead, quiz me! I'm fascinated by print runs and galleys and the editing and marketing process. Unrelated (mostly) to this, if I had to make a guess I'd say that the first watchers of Brotherhood 2.0 were YA librarians, because John Green was already quite well known in YA lit circles for having won the Printz Award for his first novel, Looking for Alaska. And of course, since librarians are some of the coolest people in the world, we helped spread the love of Brotherhood 2.0.

B2.0 didn't start until after John had won a Printz honor for his second book, An Abundance of Katherines, so until then there was no question as to the relative popularity of his books. But at Midwinter, Dutton announced a September, 2008 release date for John's third book, Paper Towns. With the popularity of Brotherhood 2.0 (They've been on NPR! In the NYTimes! On more than one EW Popwatch Must List! Front-paged on YouTube!), I'm not wondering if John will come up with something Printzworthy, but how many copies are going to be in the first print run.

I have no idea what the first print runs were of Alaska and Katherines. I can only assume that the first print run of Katherines was noticeably larger than the first run of Alaska. Either way, both of those books came out before John and Hank made their video blog and were featured on NPR, the NYT, etc. I'm not saying that John's books weren't popular, but let's face it, an author who wins a Printz and an honor with his first two books out automatically earns the label of "librarian's author," among others. (Other "librarian's authors:" Chris Crutcher, Ron Koertge, Chris Lynch, for example.) I know many people have gone on to love Alaska and Katherines, but let's face it, they're not Gossip Girl in terms of popularity. Through B2.0, John's found a new readership. There's no way their 16,000+ YouTube subscribers were all YA librarians or otherwise YA literature professionals. Dutton has got to know this, and I am now dying to see how they'll respond to John's internet popularity in the first print run of Paper Towns. 100,000 first printing? 200,000? Oh, the curiosity.

(If anyone from Dutton is reading this, inquiring minds want to know!)

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