Yesterday’s Mediabistro newsletter contains the surprising-yet-unsurprising report that former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin would be releasing a book through HarperCollins. The AP reports that “Palin's memoir, currently untitled, will cover her personal and political life, from her childhood in Alaska and last year's campaign to her political beliefs and her family life, including the pregnancy of her teenage daughter, Bristol Palin, who gave birth in December to a baby boy, Tripp.” The memoir is due to be released next year, the same year Palin is up for reelection.
Why is this surprising? Well, you see, sometimes I forget what type of world we actually live in, and I regress to assuming that people only want to read books that are well-written, or interesting, or both. Not so. Why wouldn’t millions of people be interested in reading about the personal and political life of an Alaskan governor who until a year ago no one had ever heard of? Why wouldn’t we want to read about her moose-hunting expeditions, or her challenges in trying to raise a family of five children, one of whom—gasp—has a child of her own. And—again, gasp—she’s still a teenager. How interesting.
Why is this unsurprising? Well, Tori Spelling has just inked her third book deal (and yes, I just compared Sarah Palin to Tori Spelling). President Obama has appeared shirtless on the cover of the Washingtonian. A talk show host has legions of followers buy any book she recommends. What I’m getting at here is that it’s celebrity that sells; rarely does merit alone create a popular product.
But who knows—maybe Sarah Palin (or her ghost writer) will craft an excellent memoir for the ages. I’m not holding my breath, though.