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Published:August 14th, 2011 14:07 EST
Who is on the Best Sellers List?

Who is on the Best Sellers List?

By Donna Cavanagh

Where have all the books gone? At one time the publishing industry looked for authors whose words touched our souls. Now, we just read as others bare their souls. Today, the tell-alls are the read of choice. Everyone who`s anyone in Hollywood has a story to tell and we just gobble up the dirt. And if we can`t get the stars to divulge their secrets, we can get their staff. Personal assistants, nannies and extramarital partners have penned voyeuristic books describing life inside the world of celebrities hoping that the dirty laundry stories will win them a publishing contract and possibly a coveted place on the Best Sellers List. Well, to be honest, most of these new authors probably have trouble spelling Best Sellers List , but they are smart enough to read the zeros on their first advance check.

To be fair, it`s not just Hollywood who is airing dirty laundry; professional athletes and those with access to the athletes have also hopped on the tell-all train. Let`s take a look at former New York Yankees batboy Luis Castillo. Castillo has the distinction of being the last batboy NOT to sign a confidentiality agreement with the Yankees. This little legal loophole has allowed him to open up the doors to the locker room and let the public get a peek at what Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Joe Torre were all about when he picked up their sweaty towels and discarded water bottles.  Of course, he got a publisher.  That stint as batboy will now be his ticket to his 15 minutes of fame which will include some money and the honor of his name being an answer at trivia night at some bar a few months down the road. 

Another group of literary stars come from reality TV shows.   We all jumped to read the mommy wisdom that Kate Gosselin wanted to impart.  If I had known that I could have made so much money with my uterus, I would have sextuplets too.  I will admit I watched the Jon & Kate show once in a while. At first, I watched it because the kids were cute; after a while, I watched it to see all the free stuff the family got from businesses and companies that wanted their products on TV. That family paid for nothing-- well, I think she had to pay for her tummy tuck and boob job unless of course, she worked it into the show somehow. I don`t know; I stopped watching after the couple announced their divorce on national TV.  This is why soap operas are getting cancelled. Even All My Children`s Erica Kane, who was once hailed as the Queen of Drama, seems boring next to reality TV stars. 

Having lots of kids does seem to be a quick route to a publishing contract. Look at the Duggar Family --the 19 Kids and Counting people. With a kid popping out every year for the past 20 years, the Duggars share their parenting and birth control secrets with the world at large in their own books and DVDs that are available on their website.   Yes, nothing says "We have our kids for love" like a website.  And in case you are worrying that the Duggars are in it just for the money, think again. There is plenty, and I mean plenty of Christian literature on the site that reminds us all that they are in it not for the money or fame, but for God. 

I don`t mean to sound cynical--well, actually I do-- but just because someone gives birth to a thousand kids does not mean she should be awarded the "Mother of the Year" award or a publishing contract.  Case in point: the Octomom. 

Honestly, in this woman, I can see marketing value.  No one even knows her real name; her media nickname resembles that of a superhero and it has catapulted her to fame.   " Octomom" sort of sounds like "Aquaman ", although Aquaman didn`t get fertility treatments and live off welfare until his publicist could get him a paying gig. I`m not sure what paying gigs Octomom has received because no one really calls this chick a great mother. They sort of call her the crazy lady with the baby complex , but that mental defect might sell books too and apparently, Octomom is shopping for a publisher since she already had a reality show deal in Great Britain.

No rant about publishers and horrible writers would be complete without (drum roll please) Snooki from Jersey Shore.  Snooki must be proud of her literary accomplishments because she lists best-selling author in her Twitter bio. Had it not been for a reality show where she got paid to be drunk, I highly doubt any publisher would have sought her out.  Who says alcohol is a bad thing?

When it comes down to it, there is no sense complaining about these faux celebrities or real celebrities getting publishing contracts. It`s not a publisher`s fault that reading tastes have changed.  Now, instead of a good, intelligent plot, book buyers prefer trash.  It used to be the National Enquirer was enough for us, but now we need full-size gossip books to quench our tell-all thirst. Well, I guess literature might be dying, but the upside is people still know how to read.  Yeah-- I`m grasping at straws.