The Cutline

Virtual Linsanity: Jeremy Lin e-books flood the market

Dylan Stableford
The Cutline

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One of a growing number of e-books on Jeremy Lin. (Yahoo News)

Jeremy Lin's meteoric rise from D-league dweller to NBA star has spawned countless columns, magazine articles and a veritable cottage industry for puns (including some that were racially insensitive, and at least one that resulted in a firing). Now come the e-books.

There are at least eight e-books about Jeremy Lin available on Amazon.com.

One of them, "Linsanity: The Improbable Rise of Jeremy Lin," by the novelist and ghostwriter Alan Goldsher, took just 72 hours to write.

"I approached it like a novella," Goldsher told Yahoo News.

The 15,000-word ebook was published Tuesday, six days after Goldsher's literary agent, Jason Allen Ashlock, president of New York-based Movable Type Management, suggested he write it. "Linsanity"--with a cover price of $1.99--is currently available via the Vook platform at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the iTunes Store.

"Jason said, 'Take my Lexis-Nexis password.' and I did," Goldsher, a self-described "basketball nerd" and Chicago Bulls fan, told Yahoo News. "I spent the next 24 hours chained to my computer. There's so much stuff that's buried, there's stuff buried: stories in his high school newspaper, which are adorable and hilarious. How Stanford (Univ.) had botched his recruitment. I spent the next 48 hours a putting novelistic, cinematic spin on the Lin story."

That quick turnaround rivals the "Linsanity" t-shirts sold outside Madison Square Garden--and is perhaps the fastest in the fledgling e-book era.

"I've never covered a book that was created any faster than that," Jason Boog, editor of GalleyCat.com, said in an interview.

It's a kind of production schedule typical for weekly magazines. Sports Illustrated put Lin on the cover this week--and last week's publication of the annual swimsuit issue seems to be only reason it took that long.

The Hachette Book Group announced on Wednesday that it will publish a traditional book, "Jeremy Lin: The Reason for the Linsanity," by Timothy Dalrymple, in May.

"That's about as fast as the book publishing world can move," Ashlock said. "The book publishing machinery is not able to move quickly enough."

Besides, capitalizing on Linsanity now is less of a risk than waiting. "Who knows how [Lin's success] will last," Ashlock said.

So why not just pitch a magazine story?

"I wanted to stretch out," Goldsher said. "Most traditional (magazine) publishers don't know what to do with that. There are also ideas in the book--how Jeremy Lin is an antidote to the Kobe Bryants and Lebron Jameses of the world. I'm not sure ESPN The Magazine would want to print that."

It's worth noting that Goldsher did not speak to Lin for the book. "The Knicks stonewalled me," he said.

"There is less and less space in traditional outlets for writers to sell their content," Ashlock said. "And we felt magazines would be giving the Lin story to their staff writers to write about what Lin means."

Ashlock added: "We could've put it up on Huffington Post and wasted it. But we felt it's a commodity that works best on the e-book platform."

Other e-book publishers felt the same. While Goldsher's Lin book may have been the fastest complete turnaround, it wasn't the first: Six other Lin books made it to the Kindle store before his, including "Jeremy Lin: Advice from Sun Tzu on Basketball and the Art of War!!!" by Jacob Tudor Baruch.

"He took public domain material from Sun Tzu and banged out one of the very first books on Lin," Boog said. "The possibilities for this mash-up genre are literally endless: 'How Sherlock Holmes Solved the Amanda Knox Case!!!' or 'What Rick Santorum can Learn From the Poetry of Walt Whitman!!!'"

But will any of the Lin e-books sell?

Sales data was not yet available from Vook. On Amazon's Kindle e-book sales list, Goldsher's "Linsanity" is currently ranked no. 17,590.

By comparison, Digital Book World's Jeremy Greenfield pointed out that "The Zen of Jeremy Lin: 17 Nuggets of Wisdom From Confucius to Jeremy Lin About Basketball and Life" and "Linsanity! The Jeremy Lin Story" were ranked no. 109,841 and 145,524 in the Kindle store, respectively.

"It's certainly not astronomical," Ashlock said. "But we're hopeful."

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