No hubris here.

Is it time yet to start pulling together books about last week’s catastrophe on Wall Street? Publishers are uneasy about making plans too soon, but the city’s finest financial journalists—and their literary agents—are eager to get moving.

“There’s a lot to be said for a timely book, but we don’t know what the book is yet,” said Simon & Schuster publisher David Rosenthal, noting that there are nevertheless writers out there whom he would agree to publish immediately just because he knows they’d do a good job with whatever ends up happening.

At any rate, proposals have started making the rounds.

One comes from Times business columnist Joe Nocera and former Fortune reporter Bethany McLean, who decided to write a book together the day Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch sold itself to Bank of America. Mr. Nocera was visiting Ms. McLean (co-writer of the Enron book The Smartest Guys in the Room) in Chicago at the time—he was there to attend a science conference, what kind he wouldn’t say—and over some white wine, the two of them decided that a definitive chronicle of the stunning financial crisis was in order, and that they were the team best equipped to produce it.

“We want to write the big book, and I’m not afraid of saying that,” Mr. Nocera said. “It will be a book for the ages and—I know this is going to sound egomaniacal, but—between our contacts and our reporting skills and our writing skills, I think we’ll be pretty tough to beat.”

The agency representing the Nocera-McLean book to publishers, Darhansoff, Verrill and Feldman is said to be asking more than $1 million (No one there picked up the phone when Pub Crawl sought comment).

McLean’s Smartest Guys in the Room is a great read but $1 million seems like a big advance. How many copies would need to be sold for this to make sense to a publisher?

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