Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

16 Apr 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: Introducing Football Outsiders Almanac 2009

It's time for an important announcement regarding this year's book. Unfortunately, due to contractual issues, there will not be a Pro Football Prospectus 2009 available in bookstores this summer. However, there will still be a preseason annual, available online: the brand new Football Outsiders Almanac 2009.

First, let me answer the question "Why no PFP?" The fate of that book is wrapped up in our contract with Baseball Prospectus, which in turn is wrapped up in their contract with Plume Books. Plume made the decision that they did not want to do a football book this year. (It's their decision, so don't be upset at the Prospectus folks.) We did have other publishers interested in producing a conventional Football Outsiders preseason annual in 2009. However, contractually, we were obligated to write Pro Football Prospectus before negotiating to write any other book. Plume made their decision very late in our process, and by the time they did, it was too late to squeeze a FO book onto the production schedules of the other publishers that were interested.

The good news is that our modern world provides many alternatives to conventional book publishing, and we're going to take this opportunity to experiment with them.

This year's book will be called Football Outsiders Almanac 2009, but the content will be very similar to the PFP you've grown to know and love. We'll have team chapters, player comments, KUBIAK projections, game charting stats, and new research. We'll also have an expanded college football section with more content from Brian Fremeau and Bill Connelly.

The first FO Almanac will be produced in two versions. First, there will be a PDF-download version. A digital version allows us to make the book available a little earlier and for a lower price. We'll be able to hyperlink to more expanded player stats, and we'll be able to edit longer, trying to purge FO Almanac of the typos that plagued our past books. The current plan is for the PDF to go on sale the first weekend in July, the same time we start selling the KUBIAK projections workbook.

(For those wondering, we don't know yet what kind of "buy two things, get a discount" combinations we'll be offering yet, but there will be some.)

We will also be producing FO Almanac in a print-to-order format. If you want a physical book, we'll have one for you sometime in late July. We may not be in bookstores, but the print-to-order FO Almanac 2009 will still be listed on Amazon.

(I'm hoping for a third version, Kindle, but we're still researching the possibility, so no promises yet.)

As I noted above, there are companies out there interested in publishing a book from Football Outsiders, so there's a good chance that our foray into self-publishing will be a one-time event. If this goes well, however, we might decide to do things like this every year. We're also hoping to continue some sort of relationship with the Baseball Prospectus folks, even if we will no longer use their name in the title of our books.

Sorry about the confusion, but we know you will all get excited about Football Outsiders Almanac 2009, giving you all the FO writing you crave in the preseason. There won't be any pre-orders, but I'm sure most of our readers can just stash some money away under the mattress until the day we put the new book on sale.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 16 Apr 2009

70 comments, Last at 04 Jul 2009, 2:34am by Clovenhoof


by Jimmy :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 4:04pm

Plume are mad.

by TerryW :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 4:12pm

I don't expect you guys to disclose your sales (and cost) figures, but I have a really hard time believing that PFP2008 wasn't a profitable book.

All the best! I will be buying it, probably in print-to-order format, depending on shipping.

by Bobman :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 2:29pm

Argh, book publishing is a maddening business for everyone involved. If a publisher prints too many of a book and they are returned, cutting into profits, it could be considered an unprofitable book (even though, had they projected, printed, shipped, and sold the right number, it would have been fine.) There are MANY--and I mean countless--good books that never see the light of day, or only see a glimmer and are terminated, because there are others that are more profitable, easier to promote, cheaper to produce, etc.

It's worse for novelists because there is even less of an objective measure of quality; I've seen good books get passed on, or poorly published, and I've seen crap get sold or cause a bidding war.

That, and the margins are pretty skinny, which is why I left that biz 15 years ago.

My two cents is that a good book packager with a decent list of successes in a similar field would be the best bet, but they take a share of the money for their services. Many many series books are done through packagers, who do all the layout, editing, oversee the writing and production, and sell to a publisher a relatively turn-key product.

Okay, I'll stop.

by Ryan Harris (not verified) :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 4:17pm

Agree with TerryW. I loved PFP and will absolutely be ordering the print to order format. I am a little worried that logistics will get in the way and I wont get it till mid AUG. Regardless FO is a fantastic site and I will continue to support it in whatever format I can.

Dont worry, this will be a 1 time glitch and FO will certainly get a publisher that is not braindead.

by qed :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 4:19pm

Have you given any consideration to a purely online version?

by Dean :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 4:44pm

Why would you limit your distribution like that?

I know, certainly for myself, if I'm reading something that lengthy, I don't want to stare at a computer the entire time. I'd actually be less likely to buy it if it wasn't, at minimum, downloadable, for the simple fact that reading a printed word is so much easier on the (my) eyes.

I stare at a computer at work all day, the last thing I want to do when I get home is more of the same.

by qed :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 5:50pm

I meant the online version as an additional choice to PDF and print-to-order. For me, part of sitting behind computers all day IS reading footballoutsiders :). A version I can access easily from several computers would be nice.

by Moe Magnificent (not verified) :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 4:19pm

There's no confusion to be sorry about.

1 - wait patiently for July
2 - buy .pdf version along with KUBIAK worksheet at a discount
3 - bask in the warm glow of football geniusness

by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 4:21pm

The idea of a .pdf or Kindle with a PTO version is absolutely awesome. (although you'll have to make sure you have a good table of contents/appendix reference section)

The tone of the announcement seems somber, but you're ahead of the game. Go FO! Once you're out of your contract, get some of your smart people together to figure out how to take advantage of the .PDF and Kindle medium, publish it yourself and reap the benefits.

by Tom Gower :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 4:24pm

Best of luck with this. I'll see if I can do a better job of shilling for you this year-I'd imagine no books in stores wasn't your ideal option. I'm also guessing this means no book tour. Pity-I enjoyed those.

by underthebus :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 4:44pm

Damn Plume WTF. I love having those big prospectus books, it makes me feel smart. Ah well, at least I can discreetly read the .pdf at work now.

by Sideshow Bob (not verified) :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 4:46pm

When's the best time to start planting my soybeans?

Whoops, sorry, wrong Almanac.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 11:36am

You stole my joke, in advance of me thinking of it.

by James-London :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 5:20pm

Boo. I don't like reading large volumes of text on screen. Dumb question maybe, but will the print-t0-order version be available on this side of the pond, and if so at what sort of cost?

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by lobolafcadio :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 9:15am

Same concerns here.
PFW makes their preview mags available forensea, I hope Fo too :o)

And about the pdf format, will the format be US-letter or will it be available in some A4 format for us European guys ?

by TimK :: Fri, 06/05/2009 - 3:58am

Ordering books from Amazon.com to the UK, at least, is normally not a problem, hopefully be the same this time. Books don't seem to get hit by customs charges either (I buy enough limited editions direct from US small publishers to be very glad of this).

A PDF formatted or at least convertable to print on A4 would be nice though - often if margins are reasonable size you can get a decent pdf reader & printer driver combination to fit a letter original onto A4, but if margins are too tight (and certain fonts can cause trouble too) then pagination or large tables can become troublesome. The scale-to-fit or similar print options normally work well enough (I work as IT support at a university, so run into letter/A4 conversion from time to time).

by dancingeek@gmail.com :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 5:21pm

I'm actually pretty happy about there being a PDF version. I much prefer this particular tome in PDF over print as the information is mostly time sensitive.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 5:33pm

The mattress feels better with money stashed under it anyway.

by Subrata Sircar :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 5:35pm

Was the relationship with Prospectus Entertainment Ventures (IIRC, that's the LLC that runs the XXX Prospectus sites) mostly tied up in the book deal? (I assume that they have footballprospectus.com and it gets redirected here as part of the deal, as well.)

If that relationship doesn't continue, I suppose they could start their own footballprospectus.com site, too. (In the abstract, I suppose that would be a good thing - more football commentary from authors I like would be good - but it doesn't seem like a good thing for either of you in the short term, as I imagine dollars from the core constituency are in short enough supply that two competing sites won't grow the market; it would sunder it.)

by Temo :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 5:47pm

Well, at least I won't have to explain to my roommates why I'm reading a 500 page football book.

"Then again, I'm a Bobby Carpenter believer." -- Barnwell

by Bobman :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 2:33pm

If you have to explain, it's probably not worth the effort.

Like the Simpsons episode when Hank Scorpio buys Homer his very own football team: The Broncos (remember, this is pre-SB championships in the late 90s). Homer says something like "D'oh! You just don't understand."

by Nick (not verified) :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 6:07pm

I'll buy your book in any format. Out of twelve players, we have three prospectus readers in my fantasy league. One of your readers is always in our Superbowl.

by drobviousso :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 6:34pm

PFP is actually one of the only dead tree books I still read. Glad to hear that a PDF version is going to be available. Kind of also glad the FA's name will be in the title. That's got to be good for market.

Still might have to consider getting the dead tree version. It looks damn impressive.

by John Walt :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 8:31pm

I thought I was going to look bad at my family reunion two years in a row. Now I will be reading a printout around the fire instead of a monstrously large book. I love that book and pictured a shelf full of them for reference in the future. Pity.

I still look forward to the content and boy is my work productivity going to plummet.

My boss must hate you guys by now.

by tally :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 9:22pm

Online version works for me. I've gotten a lot of pdfs and just print out the ones I care about. Lower cost means more things on which I can spend my money.

by Key19 :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 9:24pm

At first I thought this post was saying that the book was being reduced to something far less thorough and insightful, which was going to lead to a very disgruntled post. However, it seems as if the only real change is the title. Is that correct?

Also, at the risk of sounding *more* like an idiot, will the print-to-order versions be bound and have a cover, or will it just be printed sheets of paper stacked on top of each other? Thanks.

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 12:32am

If printed stack of paper sheets and buy it I maybe get binder and make 3 hole punch in the papers so for to stick them in binder and read them that way.

by I am excellent at making love (not verified) :: Sun, 04/19/2009 - 11:03am

"If printed stack of paper sheets and buy it I maybe get binder and make 3 hole punch in the papers so for to stick them in binder and read them that way."

These are the EXACT same words spoken by Gutenberg when he decided to print the Bible in 1450.

by D :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 10:06pm

Will the FOA still have the individual player evaluation cards like PFP did. I don't play fantasy so I never bought Kubiak, but reading the player comments and projections was one of my favorite parts of the book.


Sounds like Plume really screwed you guys and, potentially, us readers. I can't imagine why they would wait till late in the process to cancel the book.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 11:44am

Same reasons teams sometimes wait till the last minute to cut a player they've already decided to cut --

1) It doesn't cost them anything.
2) It makes it harder for the book to sign somewhere else, do well, and make them look bad for passing on it.

That, or the company had originally planned to do the book, but got their plans changed by the economy.

by socctty (not verified) :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 10:10pm

PLEASE get a Kindle version!

by Joseph :: Thu, 04/16/2009 - 11:49pm

I have a similar problem as James (London) does. I live in Mexico 12 hrs. south of the border. I had to drive 2 1/2 hrs. one way to pick up the '07 PFP, and my pastor happened to be coming down just after the '08 came out.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE WITH A CHERRY ON TOP have the print version available in early July. I will be in the states till July 9. If I have to read FOA on-line, my wife will probably divorce me. She already doesn't like how much time I spend on the computer reading about sports.

by andrew :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 12:02am

That sucks, even if its the same thing, it helps to have some kind of name history presence moving forward, even if we know its mostly the same the perception will be that it isn't.

I don't know if this is more of an economy-based decision on their part, affecting many other people as well.

Plume is part of Penguin Group USA, which is part of Penguin Books, which is owned by Pearson PLC.

Their stock trend for the past year showed a downard trend through early march but it looks like it is recovering. A recent Wall Street Journal article predicted good prospects for them. The article noted on Penguin:

" At Penguin, the group's consumer book publishing business, Pearson has moved to improve margins, cut costs and find new ways to exploit digital channels.

The digital market for eBooks, spurred by Amazon.com Inc's (AMZN) Kindle electronic book reader, helped Penguin to a five-fold increase in eBook sales in the U.S. last year. Total online sales also grew in the period. "

Anyway hope this doesn't hurt the overall situation for FO.

by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 1:10am

This is good news. So when Favre un-retires on June 20th you can still fit it in, right?

by yogiko (not verified) :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 1:24am

This sounds great to me.

It's not a big deal to self-publish these days. You'll probably be much happier doing it yourself, not to mention you'll make a lot more money this way.

In any case, I'm really happy to hear that there will be a pdf version. I'd much prefer that to a book.

by justme_cd :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 11:18am

Add me to the list who will enjoy the PDF version! Another toy that will fit nicely in my shiny new external hard drive to read on any computer I want. I love the idea of editing it for the readers after it is published.

by Doug English (not verified) :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 4:05am

Agree with all the posters that suggest that self-publication can be a great route. The only other thing is how will you guys be promoting the book? beyond the always trusty B.S. Report name drop of course.

A personal worry is that because I've got no patience I'll have to buy the PDF, and then get the book because I do like to have it to flip through.

by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 4:25am

Guys -- there are people on this thread who seem to think that we're not going to be producing a hard copy book, or it's going to be totally different.

In short, the only differences between this year's book and last year's will be that you won't be able to buy this book in a store and the name is different. The PDF version that will be available before the hard copy edition is in addition to the hard copy, not in lieu of.

The hard cover version won't just be a bunch of printouts -- it will be a formatted, laid out book with a cover. We expect to produce a book similar to -- if not superior to -- PFP in style, layout, and most importantly content.

by D :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 1:42pm

Cool thanks for clearing that up.

by Key19 :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 5:13pm

Thanks for not specifically naming me as one of the "people on this thread who [don't know what's going on]." I appreciate it. haha

Also, this post was great. Thanks for all the clarification.

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 7:04am

will buy book

by Temo :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 11:00am

You know that part of the book where you guys put referral quotes from usually famous people about how good your book is? Like: "PFP is a must read!"- Peter King

Well, how about this year including Raider Joe: "will buy book"- Raider Joe

Do it.

"Then again, I'm a Bobby Carpenter believer." -- Barnwell

by Joe T. (not verified) :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 11:26am

Here here!

by Lou :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 11:41am

yeah this needs to happen

by Phil (not verified) :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 12:31pm

What an inspired idea.

And it'll be easier to pull off when you don't have to explain to a publisher why such a quote should be included.

by Bobman :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 2:48pm

totally f'n sweet.

only problem is that some people will assume it's a little bit of intentional comedy, and not drawn from real life.

BROWSER: "Oh, ha-ha, see, it's a post-modernist joke that football fans are like cavemen, but then of course cavemen didn't read books. Ergo, they are not like cavemen. It works on so many levels."

ME: "You tool. It's an acutal quote from an actual reader. It's a simple declarative sentence-not too hard to figure out. He's saying he'll buy the book. The subtle subtext is that... he'll buy the damn book. Got that?"

but it needs to happen.

by cjfarls :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 5:32pm

If its good enough for Raiderjoe, its good enough for me... and I'm even a Broncos fan.

That quote really does need to be on the back cover.

Thanks for the clarification on the print-to-order book... glad to know I can horrify my in laws reading another tome at the beach in August.

by lk6 (not verified) :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 8:21am

I did *ask* you not to say 'mattress', didn't I?
Now I've got to stand in the tea chest.

by TimK :: Fri, 06/05/2009 - 3:38am

*sings* "And did those feet, in ancient times..."

by MCS :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 8:34am

I would like both. Digital and print. KUBIAK as well (possibly). Please give consideration to some sort of discount for this option.

by glengarry (not verified) :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 8:42am

at least my cat can't rip the hell out of a pdf... something about the smell of Plume's cheap paper stock drove him nuts, no joke. multiple clawings. good luck, guys!

by andrew :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 10:33am

you too? my dog destroyed much of my pfp 2008, including the credits page :(

"I was corrupt before I had power!" - Random

by brodelicious (not verified) :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 11:40am

This is such a bummer. PFP was one of the boxes I checked every year on my pre-season calendar. It fit so nicely between all of the other NFL regular season anticipatory rituals from Schedule release day to draft day to training camp day and all the way to pre season game 1 day.

Boo-hoo :(

by Joe T. (not verified) :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 1:40pm

I think a cover design contest for the bound edition is in store.

by JasonC23 :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 1:44pm

I'll definitely want the PTO hard copy--will there be a way to order it to ensure you get maximum revenue from my copy, like ordering the Hardball Times annual directly through the publisher or clicking on the link you provided to Amazon?

by Tom Gower :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 5:55pm

Is it hypocritical of me to wonder about the availability of both this and a discount for buying both the digital and print editions? I suspect it is, at least somewhat, but I can't quite resolve it in my own mind.

by Matt Bowyer :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 4:21pm

I will buy both the digital and the book version.

The first PFP I got was in 2007. I loved it so much I went and bought the 2006 and 2005 version from Amazon. I bought outdated old football annuals. And I read them cover to cover, and I STILL read them cover to cover.

by Jeff G (not verified) :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 4:30pm

Having 2009 on Kindle would be tres cool; except that I don't believe Kindle (at least version 1) does tables easily.

Another alternative - Make 2009 available (and printable) on this website but on a subscription/password/user name basis similar to the Sporting News War Room or ESPN Insider. Then all paying subscribers would have to do would be: (a) come here, (b) log on with user name and password and then surf the site and print whatever they found relevant.

Jeff G

by superbears (not verified) :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 5:01pm

As long as I have a physical copy that I can keep in the bathroom for July and August I am happy.

by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 04/17/2009 - 7:57pm

You have no idea what joy it brings me to have my own book in my own bathroom.

by Deans Giants (not verified) :: Fri, 05/15/2009 - 10:36pm

OK, I gotta ask...any chance there would be an excel spreadsheet version. Sure would love to plug and play the info and put my own crazy analytical spin on the data. When I apply my formulas to your masterpiece databank, the guys in my fantasy leagues beg for mercy.

by MCS :: Sat, 05/30/2009 - 8:58am

I'll say it again. I'd like both versions + maybe KUBIAK. It would be nice if there were some sort of discount for that as well.

Or maybe I can be patient and wait for the print to order version skipping the PDF version entirely. This is dependent on the lead time for shipment ARPO.

Costs are important. For example is it more cost effective to get the print to order version from Amazon, or print out the sections of the PDF version I want to peruse at a more leisurely pace?

I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

by yogi :: Sun, 06/21/2009 - 1:36pm

Sign me up for one copy of the PDF. I like reading stuff on the computer,and it also saves space and trees - win all around!

by nuopu :: Tue, 06/30/2009 - 3:22am

Get this thing on Kindle! PFP is great as simply an entertainment read, hardcore fanship not required for enjoyment and enlightenment. Putting this on Kindle makes it portable and allows reading anywhere. It's great to peek into for a spare minute or two, unlike most books. PFP's only problem was its bulk. Having the Almanac would be a Kindle owner's dream. And I also won't risk my health speeding to the bookstore or constantly bothering the staff there. I won't have to hunt all over town for it either.

by Groucho (not verified) :: Tue, 06/30/2009 - 12:43pm

Do we have a firm release date yet?

by Jesus (not verified) :: Thu, 07/02/2009 - 8:05am

I have bought your books: football prospectus and baseball prospectus from 3 years ago. I should like to know when I shall can to buy your book: "Football outsiders almanac 2009" what date? I have bought all yours books in Amazon.com.
I love football (pro and college) and baseball.
My teams are N.Y. Yankees, Dallas Cowboys and Oklahoma Sooners.
Thank you,
Jesus Ajenjo
From Zaragoza, Spain, Europe.

by Clovenhoof :: Fri, 07/03/2009 - 10:57am

Okay, it's July.


by train9040 :: Fri, 07/03/2009 - 2:31pm

come on guys, can you give us a release date yet?

by Bigjay (not verified) :: Fri, 07/03/2009 - 5:59pm

I guess it isn't coming out the first weekend in July! Hopefully it comes out soon. I need this bad! This helped me win my league last year

by Clovenhoof :: Sat, 07/04/2009 - 2:34am

5 more sleeps! Or I guess that should be "around" 5 more sleeps....