Rich and Famous: Owen Jones Joins the 1% mdi-fullscreen


Political books don’t often sell that well: the latest book charts show that this year Alex Salmond flogged 12,815 copies of his memoir, while Polly Toynbee clocked up 11,178 for her rantings, which will keep her in Prosecco for a while yet even if she has had to sell the villa in Umbria. Top of the pops for political populism this year by a long way is Owen Jones, who has sold a whacking 143,212 copies of The Establishment. His ever readiness to do media appearances has effectively been a fantastic marketing campaign for the book…

Let’s not forget Owen wisely dumped his small not-for-profit lefty independent publisher last year, in favour of a more lucrative deal with the multi-billion pound trans-national corporation that is Random Penguin House. Workers unite! 

Guido has been doing the numbers* and everyone’s favourite anti-poverty campaigner has generated £1,347,114 in book sales (not including digital ebook sales). Any author worth their salt can typically negotiate 30% royalties. Given Owen had already got a hit book under his belt he would have been a fool not to have negotiated more, at least 35%. Meaning he will likely have earnt from The Establishment this year royalties in the region of £471,489, on top of his £40,000 salary at The Guardian. A cool half-a-million quid in the last 12 months…

According to the IFS to be in the top percentile of earners in the UK you have to earn a mere £88,000, so he is sitting comfortably way above the entry level for the 1%. When Owen was at the Indy earning a £20,000 pittance his view was that “MPs’ high pay makes them more distant from those they exist to serve. Their pay should be slashed”. Owen now earns far more than the Prime Minister, no wonder he tells everyone he doesn’t want to be an MP, he couldn’t take the pay cut…

*Figures from Nielsen BookScan; The Establishment (hardback): sold 52,952 for £718,944.09, The Establishment (paperback): sold 90,260 for £628,169.97

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