Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sarah Palin-mania could start up again
Commentary: Look out if her upcoming book flourishes
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Get ready for Sarah Palin-mania, part two.
Her first chapter, in national politics, exploded then fizzled when the former Republican vice presidential candidate unexpectedly retired as governor of Alaska in July. Now, Palin is back, as her memoir, "Going Rogue: An American Life" has been moved up by the Harper imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, according to The Wall Street Journal. (Harper Collins and The Journal, like MarketWatch, are units of News Corp. (NWS 14.20, +0.22, +1.57%) ).
The book has been moved up to Nov. 17 from next spring. The publishing house said it is distributing 1.5 million copies of Palin's book -- an enormous commitment -- and it will cost $28.99. The electronic edition won't be ready until Dec. 26.
What's noteworthy here is the commercial potential of Palin's aura. Yes, her conservative followers flock to her political rallies and fundraisers. Sure, the national media can't get enough of her. "Saturday Night Live" (GE 16.60, -0.11, -0.66%) thrived last year when Tina Fey did an uncanny job of lampooning Palin's eccentricities.
If the book flies off shelves at the stores, we will know -- for sure -- that Palin has commercial appeal, too. That's when you'll see the media lining up to ask her to host television and radio programs. And Palin-mania will once again go full throttle.
For Palin, the reward could come in benefits that go beyond the satisfaction of favorable book reviews. She could use this forum as a springboard to her repair her image, which suffered when she surprised Republican followers by departing from the political scene a few months ago.
Palin hopes for a win-win scenario. Don't bet against her.
-- Jon Friedman