Literary agent Dan Strone oversaw two multimillion-dollar celebrity book deals last week, stunning the publishing industry, the New York Observer reports. He scored $2.5 million for a Sarah Silverman book and drew bids topping $7 million for a Jerry Seinfeld title. Both were auctioned without a proposal. “I don’t make people spend the money,” said Strone, who did not understand why industry figures "should be horrified."
Asked if such deals spell doom for "midlist" titles, he conceded that "there is a sense of belt-tightening in that area." But the agent, who has sold books for Paris Hilton and Jon Stewart, defended publishers' interest in purchasing guaranteed sellers. "What’s wrong with knowing you have a built-in audience?" he asked, comparing his clients to John Grisham and James Patterson. "It's the same thing."