68 Philadelphia Inquirer employees were laid off yesterday (including David Aldridge), and there’s an interesting suggestion over at Daniel Rubin’s Blinq (link courtesy Maura Johnston), one bearing the notable signature of “Buzz Bissinger”.
Given what is happening at the Inquirer, I hope that columnists Stephen A. Smith and John Grogan do what is right and take voluntary buyouts given they have both hit the jackpot in other realms and could care less about what they write for the paper. They both mail their columns in now. Smith is preoccupied with his ESPN show and is apprently never in the city he allegedly covers. Grogan is mired in the gooey syrup that made Marley and Me such a hit and has never shown any knowledge of the region whatsoever.
Neither deserve jobs at the Inquirer as it so desperately struggles, nor do they need the money. Smith signed a fat deal with ESPN.
Grogan has become rich beyond all imagination as a result of Marley. According to Bookscan figures, the hardcover edition of Marley and Me has sold 1.758 million copies. Bookscan only accounts for about two-thirds of all sales since such outlets as Wal-Mart and Costco are excluded. Given that Marley has sold enormously well in these places, it is reasonable to assume that his sales are in the range 2.5 million. Assuming the standard royalty rate of 15 percent, Grogan has profited somewhere around $8.125 million from his hardcover sales, excluding royalties from the new $29.95 gift edition (69,469 sold to date according to Bookscan), excluding paperback profits since the paperback has not come out yet. When all is said and done, Grogan will make well over $10 million on his book, More power to him, but if he has one tenth of the morality he shows off in his insipid columns, he will quietly retire from the Inquirer so someone’s job can be saved.