AN INAUGURATION WORTH CELEBRATING
The folks at Harper San Francisco are very pleased with the sales of The Best Spiritual Writing 1998, edited by Philip Zaleski (twin brother of PW's forecast editor-at-large, Jeff Zaleski). The inaugural collection was released November 4 with a 10,000-copy first printing; less than three weeks later the book had gone back to press twice more, for an in-print total of 25,000. It also captured the #1 nonfiction paperback spot on the November 17 Independent Bestseller List, compiled weekly by more than 25 booksellers across the country. (The top paperback fiction title on that list is P.D. James's A Certain Justice; #1 nonfiction paperback is Simon Winchester's The Professor and the Madman; the #1 hardcover nonfiction is Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full). To get the buzz going HSF did a large postcard mailing in August and September to reviewers, media and booksellers; featured the book in several holiday catalogues; and did a finished-book mailing to top bookstore accounts. Stellar reviews (including a starred one in PW) also heightened the momentum. The publisher anticipates good sales for future anthologies; the 1999 publication will be edited by bestselling author Kathleen Norris.
A WELCOME INTERRUPTION
Sourcebooks is gearing up for what it hopes will be one of the big gift books of the holiday season; early sales indicators for J Garner's We Interrupt This Broadcast: The Actual Broadcasts of the Events That Shaped Our Lives are promising. Priced at $45, the book/CD combo is, according to managing editor Todd Spocke, "a bargain." In the early stages of the book's planning, the publisher had figured on sales of about 25,000- 30,000 copies, but by the end of June's BEA, the first press run was raised to six figures. The actual first printing was 130,000, and within a few weeks of the release date, the publisher hit the reprint button for an additional 20,000 copies, followed quickly by a third printing of 50,000. Internet sales have been strong too -- the week before Thanksgiving the book was #6 at Amazon.com. Publicity has been intense. As of November 20, Garner had done about 180 interviews in just one month, with more than 100 to go through the holidays. He'll be touring through mid-December and there are some obvious media tie-ins on the dates of some of the events. The 35th anniversary of the death of JFK on November 22 prompted a number of author appearances, including a spot on the CNN Morning Show. Not unexpectedly, media attention will be heavy on December 7 (anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack) and December 8 (anniversary of the death of John Lennon), two historic events that interrupted regular broadcasting.
NO GRUDGE, DRUDGE
Back on November 5, the Drudge Report predicted that James Carville's ...And the Horse He Rode In On would not have a strong run on the national bestseller charts. "Carville's plan to make top dollar off the Clinton scandal may fall short of expectations," wrote Internet muckraker Matt Drudge, adding that the book "could soon be sporting 'the stickers.' " Publisher Simon &Schuster retorts, "au contraire!" So far there has been no need at all for discount stickering. The book begins its second month on the national charts, with 195,000 copies in print after four trips to press.
GAMING HITS THE MARK
Yet another book on basketball hits the national charts (evidently reading about the game fills up some of the hours missed watching it). In Values of the Game, Bill Bradley, former New Jersey senator and Hall of Fame basketball player, shares some of the lessons he learned on the courts, including discipline, respect, courage, leadership and imagination. Bradley visited 14 cities on his month-long tour. Artisan launched the book October 19 with a 72,000-copy first printing; five trips to press bring the total to 125,000. It's Artisan's first run on the national bestsellers charts.