Sunday, October 16, 2011

Does Crime Pay For Publishers?

On a recent vacation to South Florida I went to Starbucks just as I would if at home.  I’m addicted.  While I waited for them to make a tall, skim mocha, light on-the whip, 190° cup of java, I went over to a convenience store next store.  As I bought a pack of gum, I noticed an odd-looking newspaper at the front counter.  It’s called The Slammer.

It is a weekly newspaper dedicated to showcasing the mug shots of those arrested in Palm Beach County.  I couldn’t believe such a publication existed and wondered who buys this? Then I bought a copy for a buck.  I was just too curious to walk away.

It was about 20 pages of colorful mug shots, grouped together by crimes allegedly committed and then by odd-ball parings such as “If looks could kill,” “Hairdos and don’ts” and “Laugh it up.”  Hundreds of photos fill the pages.  Who knew so much crime was committed – and who knew people would buy a paper dedicated to it?

It just goes to show there’s a market for anything.  As authors and book publishers look towards the obvious and the odd; this newspaper figured out that crime pays.  Others may figure out that something else that’s all around us could make for an interesting book.

I certainly see a sequel:  The Spouses and Girlfriends of those featured in The Slammer.  Maybe they can do Letters From The Slammer, where the reader is treated to reading the missives of those behind bars.  I’m sure someone would buy it. 

So, what will you write about that sells?

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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