The Cost of a Full-Page Ad in The New York Times

There were some fun Amazon-Hachette developments over the weekend, open letters and misguided references to WWII and George Orwell were a-flyin’. What spurred this gem of a corporate communications failure from Amazon was a letter, published as a full-page ad in the Times, written by a group of authors 900-strong. The authors called for Amazon to stop uh, blackballing Hachette books as a way to bully Hachette into giving Amazon more favorable terms in the sale of ebooks. The full text of the letter can be read here, on Authors United dot NET (smh):

Many of us have supported Amazon since it was a struggling start-up. Our books launched Amazon on the road to selling everything and becoming one of the world’s largest corporations. We have made Amazon many millions of dollars and over the years have contributed so much, free of charge, to the company by way of cooperation, joint promotions, reviews and blogs. This is no way to treat a business partner. Nor is it the right way to treat your friends. Without taking sides on the contractual dispute between Hachette and Amazon, we encourage Amazon in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business. None of us, neither readers nor authors, benefit when books are taken hostage. (We’re not alone in our plea: the opinion pages of both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, which rarely agree on anything, have roundly condemned Amazon’s corporate behavior.)

Not to condemn people you agree with for not being radical enough, no wait this is exactly what I’m doing. If any of these writers really thought of Amazon as a business partner much less a friend, well, Stephen King I have a bridge to sell you, SHIPPED FREE AND DELIVERED ON SUNDAYS.

Anyway, the letter from the authors ran in the New York Times, and my favorite part of the Times coverage of said ad (love you, Universe) is obviously the fact that they disclosed the price of the ad itself!

The Times ad, which cost $104,000, was paid for by a handful of the more successful writers.

$104,000! Somehow, I am surprised that’s all it takes. Did they haggle? Can you haggle a NYT ad? I mean, there were multiple articles about said ad — FREE MEDIA! — so they definitely got more than they bargained for. Billfolder Claire Lovell pointed out that in Salon, Douglas Preston mentions who among the “more successful” writers paid for the ad:

I put in some of my money, and asked some well-heeled friends to put in money. All the people who helped pay are signatories — between 15 and 20 — but about half of the people who helped pay for the ad wished to remain anonymous. I’m happy to allow people to know I helped finance it — but I didn’t want to go to 1,000 people and ask for money, I’m not a fundraiser.

Who helped pay for the ad whose names you can say?

Stephen King, John Grisham, James Patterson, David Baldacci, Stacy Schiff, Nora Roberts, me, Lee Child.

I love it!

I also love this idea that he isn’t a fundraiser, he just decided to target his “well-heeled” friends instead of you know, asking the group. That is fundraising! That’s even more peer pressure don’t you think? “Hey, you have money.” God bless everyone involved.

Now let’s all think of something to print in the Times for the low, low price of $104,000.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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