Another Rudd-tale premature leak. Fairfax’s exclusive deal to publish extracts from Maxine McKew’s political memoirs has proved a fizzer, with the tome falling into the hands of rival publications and ordinary book-lovers a week ahead of its official release date.

Under a deal stitched up between Fairfax and Louise Adler’s Melbourne University Publishing, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age were supposed to have a clear run to publish an exclusive news story today ahead of follow-up yarns and a lengthy Good Weekend extract tomorrow. The plan went belly-up, howeverwhen The Australian got its hands on a copy of the book earlier this week. Unbound by any contractual restrictions, The Oz splashed yesterday with a brazenly-tagged “special report” based on lengthy quotes from the book. The SMH cleaned up the crumbs today with this Peter Hartcher “exclusive”.

It’s unclear how The Oz got its hands on the embargoed tract, but it’s hardly been held under lock and key. A Crikey operative in Sydney purchased a copy of the book, due for release on November 1, yesterday at Abbey’s Bookshop in the Sydney CBD after spotting a cut out of McKew in the window. They were informed by an employee that the book had been on the shelves since Wednesday.

Crikey understands Adler, who was unavailable for comment this morning, was fuming when informed about the c-ck up. Abbey’s has now pulled the book, titled Tales From the Political Trenches, off its shelves.

UPDATED: Since publication, we have been informed that the book has been sighted on the shelves of the Canberra Centre Dymocks today.

While Fairfax may have lost face from the debacle, luckily it hasn’t done its dough. Company spokesman Brad Hatch says “not a cent” was paid for the extracts — a far cry from the days when Mark Latham could command $80,000 for exclusive extract rights for The Latham Diaries. — Matthew Knott

ACP is dead, long live Bauer. ACP Magazines is changing its name to Bauer Media from today. The name change follows the acquisition of ACP from Nine Entertainment last month for a reported $525 million. That means Bauer (nee ACP) is now in the firing line of Tom Cruise, who is suing two Bauer mags, Life & Style and In Touch, after they reported he abandoned his 6-year-old daughter Suri. Cruise is claiming $US50 million in his defamation action against the two mags. — Glenn Dyer

Reduce, reuse, recycle. In need of fodder for your op-ed pages? Tired of commissioning writers for fresh content? You could always follow the model of Fairfax, which today ran a piece by journo Tracey Spicer on s-xism in the newsroom. Well, actually, they recycled it.

The yarn (which was printed in The Age and splashed on Fairfax online) is old news, as they say, after first being published online by The Hoopla nearly a fortnight ago. And even there it wasn’t new. Spicer originally delivered as part of the Women of Letters oration series in June.

Video of the day. We had intern Nicholas McCallum search the grubby depths of YouTube for the wackiest US election campaign ads. We’re still looking (send us any suggestions) but we reckon this is one of the best, from the Republican Party of South Dakota …

Front page of the day. If the choice were between an empty chair and Mitt Romney …

Sackings to come from BBC’s Savile scandal?

“The BBC Trust chairman, Lord Patten, has admitted he will not be surprised if the Jimmy Savile scandal results in disciplinary action or even resignations of corporation staff.” — The Guardian

Even the NY Times doesn’t make any money

“New York Times Co. reported an 85% drop in net earnings for the third quarter on continued declines in advertising as the publisher said it stood by its choice of former BBC Director General Mark Thompson as its next CEO.” — The Wall Street Journal

Global book publishers face merger

“In an effort to stave off the challenge from online retailers in a rapidly changing market, two of the world’s largest book publishers, Random House and Penguin, are engaged in talks to combine their businesses.” — The New York Times

Peter Fray

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