From The Bookseller:
Bonnier Zaffre has poached author Wilbur Smith from HarperCollins in an eight-figure sterling deal, described as “one of the biggest in publishing history” by Bonnier Publishing group chief executive Richard Johnson.
Mark Smith, c.e.o. of Bonnier Zaffre, acquired world all-language rights to eight new Wilbur Smith books, together with English language rights to 34 backlist titles including classics such as When The Lion Feeds, Elephant Song and River God, from Kevin Conroy Scott at Tibor Jones Agency.
Smith, who is now 84, is said to have sold more than 130 million copies of his novels worldwide, and is currently published in 25 languages.
HarperCollins published Smith’s first co-authored title, Golden Lion, in September 2015 after he moved from Pan Macmillan in a six-book deal, rumoured to be worth £15m. Before that Smith published 34 books with Pan Macmillan. The last book under contract with HarperCollins deal is due to be published this autumn.
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“With over 130 million books sold, Wilbur is at the top of his game and is much loved around the globe. With world rights in the new titles, we are very much looking forward to working with likeminded, entrepreneurial and commercial publishers in all international territories,” he said.
He told The Bookseller there would be “more of this to come”, with Bonnier Publishing looking to grow both by building their own brand authors and by buying them in.
“This is exactly part of our strategy, if we do have the opportunity to deal with, talk to and convince other brand name authors we are the place to be,” said Smith. “We’ve built a great team and we’re having great results, we’re very focused and determined and we have a successful approach to commercial fiction; I think what we do is appealing so I hope there will be more of this to come.”
Asked whether other publishers should be nervous about their prized writers being poached, Smith added “there is enough opportunity for everyone to succeed.”
Link to the rest at The Bookseller