A week after “alt-right” figurehead and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos landed a lucrative $250,000 (£203,000) book deal with publisher Simon & Schuster in the US, the UK division of the publisher has walked away from the opportunity, confirming it will not publish his controversial book.
A Simon & Schuster UK spokesperson confirmed to the Guardian that it would not be publishing Yiannopoulos’s memoir, titled Dangerous, which is due out in the US in March.
Senior editors at many of the UK’s biggest publishing houses told the Guardian they were unlikely to offer for the book should it come on to the market. “It will be a toxic book to try and sell here,” one publishing insider said.
A publishing director at a nonfiction imprint, who also asked not to be named, said: “A lot of semi-toxic books do go to large publishers, but I wouldn’t touch this if it was offered to me and don’t think anyone else will.”
You can see where The Guardian is going with this, can’t you? Toxic! We Brits won’t touch it! Hurrah!
And then we get to the nub of the matter:
Major publishers insisted their reluctance to take on Yiannopoulos had less to do with his opinions than that, outside media and rightwing circles, he was relatively unknown in the UK. “He doesn’t have a platform in Britain,” said one. “We have a history of publishing toxic books here that have done well, but this won’t be one of them, he’s just not that well known.”
The book sales are to come from the fame, the Twitter account (perhaps the fame from not having one of those any more) etc. That is, this is a celebrity book not a political one. Milo’s Greek Jewish cookbook would have done as well.
At which point, so, how well did Owen Jones’ latest do in the US? Sure, we know it did well here, national column, turns up at all the right demos, large Twitter following. And in the US?