Netflix founder's first book to Ebury in major six-figure deal

Netflix founder's first book to Ebury in major six-figure deal

UK rights in the first book by Netflix c.e.o. and co-founder Reed Hastings have gone to Ebury for a high six-figure advance following a multi-publisher auction. In the US, the book has gone for seven-figures in a deal with Penguin Press.

Tipped to be one of the biggest business books of next year, the title will focus on the company's first 20 years in business. The manuscript was at the centre of "a very big auction", The Bookseller understands, before Ebury's Virgin Books imprint purchased it on the strength of its proposal alone.

Ebury has confirmed deputy publisher Joel Rickett acquired UK and Commonwealth rights through agent Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown. The agency is actively selling rights around the world and it is understood there is interest in multiple territories.

Like Ann Godoff's Penguin Press in the US, Ebury similarly said it has plans to publish "sometime next year".

The as-yet-untitled book will be the first insider's account of Netflix, a business that started out in DVD-by-mail rental before evolving into its now-core streaming operation that has attracted more than 125 million subscribers. Combining elements of memoir with an exploration of the secrets to Netflix's success, it will be authored by Hastings himself with the help of Erin Meyer, a Paris-based professor at INSEAD, one of the leading international business schools.

Industry sources in the US told CNN the book would be "a behind-the-scenes look at Hastings' leadership strategy and the company's culture".

The market disruptor is known for its culture which is based on an "anti-rules pro-freedom philosophy". Hastings first expanded on the philosophy with Netflix's chief talent officer, Patty McCord, in a famous Netflix Deck powerpoint presentation which Sheryl Sandberg has hailed as one of the most important documents ever to come out of Silicon Valley. The company has relentlessly high standards for performance, but it also invented the concept of unlimited holidays for staff. Meanwhile its "no prior approvals" policy for commissioning content brought about its first foray into original programming in 2013 with "House of Cards". 

Since the creator of other hit series such as "The Crown", "13 Reasons Why" and "Stranger Things", the FT reported in June that shares in Netflix had doubled since start of 2018. Its market cap, surpassing Disney, peaked in June at $185bn (up from $83bn in January 2018), before dipping to $138bn at the time of reporting.