Choosing Book Publishers: Academic, Teaching or Trade?

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  1. Your description reminds me of a book by Mark West (now at Michigan), called Secrets, Sex and Spectacle. It’s about a comparison of scandals and their legal implications (esp. libel cases) in Japan and the US. There were one or two chapters early on that were heavy on the legal background, but the rest of it was quite entertaining, and full of stuff about Japanese pop and media culture (unfortunately much of it fairly opaque if you’ve never visited here and watched TV, browsed magazines, etc.) U Chicago Press published it; academic, but fun.

    To appeal to a general audience, a writing style in the Freaknomics or Undercover Economist vein (the latter being extremely well-written, even if the content made my blood boil). I think your idea of “explain[ing] ancient doctrine … using fresh materials,” would be the right way to go here, too, rather than making the celebrity cases the most salient feature — their shelf life might be short. I.e., the celebrity cases should be supporting your explanation of enduring principles of law that can be of practical use to non-lawyer readers, rather than making the pop aspects the featured dish. (Michael Sandel’s book is another that manages this balance between the topical and the philosophical well.)