Emeril Lagasse Signs Ten Book Deal With HarperCollins

Posted on September 6, 2008

Emeril Lagasse has signed a mind-boggling ten book deal with HarperCollins. Martha Stewart Omnimedia owns the rights to the Emeril Lagasse franchise of books, television shows and kitchen products.

Under the multi-year agreement, Mr. Lagasse is set to release his first book -- with a focus on indoor and outdoor grilling -- in May 2009. Although the chef, who is known for his enthusiastic cooking style, has produced 12 titles with HarperCollins since 1993, the book will be his first in four years. It will also be one of HarperCollins' first releases under its new HarperStudio imprint.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Mr. Lagasse will receive a modest advance, as well as 50% of profits generated from the titles, according to Robert Miller, head of HarperStudio.

Launched in April 2008, the new imprint made waves as the most recent effort by book publishers to cope with stagnant book sales and increasing production costs. It is unique because it splits profits with authors in lieu of paying them hefty advances and aims to eliminate the costly practice of allowing booksellers to return unsold copies. HarperStudio also focuses on electronic books and digital audio editions, one of the key reasons MSLO executive chairman Charles Koppelman pushed Mr. Lagasse to the experimental imprint. "Emeril is the perfect author for HarperStudio's cutting-edge book publishing formula," Mr. Koppelman said.

Martha Stewart Omnimedia paid $50 million for the franchise, and Emeril will begin making regular appearances on the Martha Stewart show. He still owns his own restaurant business. It's a good match that should work out well for all parties. As long as he keeps writing cookbooks, we'll keep reading them.

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