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Place Your Bets!
This year’s big gambles are typical; two authorized bios, a literary doorstop with crossover ambitions, and an animal memoir “in the tradition” of a past blockbuster. Will a sufficient number of readers be enticed? We’ll know soon enough.


THE GARGOYLE
Andrew Davidson (Doubleday; August 2008)
Advance $1.25 million
Initial Print Run 125,000
Publisher’s Sell “An extraordinary debut novel of love that survives the fires of hell and transcends the boundaries of time.”
Caveat In its first month of release, it’s done well but never broken the top ten, and it’s slated to fall off the 35-book extended Times best-seller list next week.


DEWEY: A SMALL-TOWN LIBRARY CAT WHO TOUCHED THE WORLD
Vicki Myron with Bret Witter (Grand Central; September 24)
Advance $1.25 million
Anticipated Print Run 250,000
Publisher’s SellMarley & Me meets The Bridges of Madison County in this heartwarming true story.”
Caveat Everyone loves heartwarming stories about animals who teach humans the joys of life, love, and how to properly catalogue library books—particularly animals that have already taken the Big Catnap. Still, it’s a lot of money.


THE SNOWBALL: WARREN BUFFETT AND THE BUSINESS OF LIFE
Alice Schroeder (Bantam Dell; September 29)
Advance $7 million
Anticipated Print Run 1 million
Publisher’s Sell “The legendary Omaha investor has never written a memoir, but now he has allowed one writer, Alice Schroeder, unprecedented access.”
Caveat Buffett was interviewed for the book, but has not committed to appearances promoting it. Without him, two million copies is a big hill to climb.


BUILT TO SUCCEED
Michael Phelps and a still-unchosen co-author (Free Press; December 16)
Advance $1.6 million
Anticipated Print Run 500,000
Publisher’s Sell Phelps “will reveal the secrets of his success, taking us behind the scenes of his approach to training, competition and winning.”
Caveat After three months of overexposure, will anyone care?


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