Andrew AlbaneseIn 2014, some things about the book business are as long gone as the days of Mad Men. Three-martini lunches, of course, as well an urban landscape dotted with bookstores.

Also among the missing, or so we thought, were the hefty advances that signal the imminent arrival of a new “big book” or the opening of an important new career. Well, at least for one New York Times reporter, happy days are here again.

“St. Martin’s Press this week acquired a debut novel by 36-year-old New York Times reporter Stephanie Clifford for a reported 7-figure deal—and this right after some really hefty deals million dollar deals around the Frankfurt Book Fair, including two debut novels and one debut nonfiction work,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.

“I have to wonder if the large advances at the top are coming at the expense of the middle,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “I say that because advances are declining, no question about it. Just because we’re seeing bigger payouts at the top, though, that doesn’t mean the average advance is rising.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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