Making a motza

<p>There is an Aussie word, &quot;motza&quot;, meaning &quot;a large amount&quot;, as in &quot;that bloke must be earning a motza&quot;. If there is one &thinsp;Australian family that has earned&mdash;and lost&mdash;plenty of motzas in its time, it is the Packers. The late Kerry Packer was probably best known in the UK for his determination when launching World Series Cricket, but for decades he was the dominant Australian media mogul. He was everything to all people: hero, villain, innovator, scoundrel. His dynamic, controversial career generated a micro-publishing industry in its own right, perhaps best represented by Paul Barry's gripping <em>The Rise and Rise of Kerry Packer</em>, which has sold more than a quarter of a million copies for Bantam since 1993.</p>
<p>One period in the publishing year that can earn publishers a motza is Father's Day. Really successful launches can gather enough momentum to join the Christmas bestsellers. This year's Father's Day Top 50 list holds few surprises, with <em>The Dangerous Book for Boys</em> at number two, the biography of motor racing legend Peter Brock at number six, Sphere's Barry Sheen biography riding high and many other Dad-focused titles, such as <em>Why I Love My Daddy</em>, prominent.</p>
<p>In fiction, it's hard to see whether Father's Day has had any impact on the success of writers such as Kathy Reichs, Diana Gabaldon, Dean Koontz, Clive Cussler, Khaled Hosseini and James Patterson, but it's interesting to see that two big books had Packer's face on their covers: Gerald Stone's <em>Who Killed Channel 9?</em>, and the just-released, &quot;uncut&quot; and updated version of Barry's classic tome.</p>
<p>Of this bunch, it's hard to tell which is likely to push on through until Christmas&mdash;not least because the small matter of a federal election stands in the way and publishers have jumped on the increased political interest, with two biographies of opposition leader Kevin Rudd and one major biography of PM John Howard already on the market. ABC's &quot;Spotless&quot; and &quot;Speedcleaning&quot; ladies are back too, with <em>How to Be Comfy: Brilliant Ways to Make Your House a Home</em>&mdash;and there's not a mark on their track record when it comes to Christmas success.</p>
<p>In recent months, much has been made of how Kerry Packer's son James has shifted his company's investment toward the gambling business. As the season of catalogues and major marketing spends is nearly upon us, one wonders which Australian publishers will be taking a leaf out of his book&mdash;and maybe pulling in those motza earnings as a result.</p>