MIDNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN
Back in January 1994, Random House published Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with what now seems like a very modest first printing-25,000 copies. No other stats on John Berendt's book would ever be that modest. It spent 171 weeks on PW's weekly hardcover bestseller charts; returned to press 99 times; and currently boasts about 2.6 million copies in print in the U.S., not to mention that it has been published in 24 countries. The hardcover was still going strong when the Midnight movie hit the screens in summer of 1997, so the publisher put plans for the paperback reprint on hold. Now five and a half years after the hardcover debut, Vintage has released Midnight in paperback and early sales stats are promising. The trade paperback was published July 6 with a 400,000-copy printing and it has already gone back to press for a fourth run, bringing the total to 475,000. Savannah again extended its Southern hospitality for the author and book (not surprising, since tourism in the city increased 46% after the book hit the bestseller lists). There were several special events, including a signing at the local Hilton hotel, hosted by Esther Shaver's bookstore. Berendt is in midst of a 12-city tour. Vintage is banking on a long paperback run, especially when Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: The Concert hits the road this fall.
A SECOND SARAH SOARING
Once again, a certain talk-show host (that one who has her own on-air book club) is demonstrating her power to create bestsellers-or, more specifically in this case, to re-create them. When Oprah's full-hour show with author Sarah Ban Breathnach (the author's second hourlong stint, originally aired on March 22) was re-shown on July 5, both Something More and Simple Abundance jumped back on the charts. Simple Abundance, which was published by Warner in November 1995, spent a walloping 129 weeks on our list; Something More (pub date: October 1998) enjoyed a 15-week run. The publisher reports in-print totals of 1,051,000 (after four printings) and 3,819,000 (46 printings), respectively, of the two titles.
A REALAGE SPIKE
Back in mid-March we reported on a then new nonfiction bestseller published by HarperCollins/Cliff Street Books, RealAge by Dr. Michael F. Roizen, launched with a 23,000-copy first printing. Its landing on the bestseller list was helped by an hour-long Oprah at the end of February and the book went back to press several times, bringing the in-print total to 125,000 within a month of publication. A 20/20 piece that had been in the works for several months aired July 9 and one week later, Oprah re-aired the earlier show. The two reeltime hits jolted the book straight up the charts. Currently, after 10 trips to press, there are 178,500 copies in print.
A NEW W.E.B. SITE
The Soldier Spies, which debuts at #11 on our fiction list, went on sale June 29 with a first printing of 145,000 copies; one trip back to press rounds off that figure at 150,000. This is the final installment of the Men at War trilogy, the rousing saga of the OSS in WWII by veteran military writer W.E.B. Griffin. Putnam is doing national print advertising in both mainstream and military publications.
A MALADY WORTHY OF DISCOVER-Y
Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, published this spring by Houghton Mifflin's Mariner Original trade paperback line, is finding favor with reviewers and readers nationwide. The book was selected by Barnes & Noble's Discover program in July and the author has made appearances in several cities and plans more in the fall. Meanwhile, three of the stories in the debut collection were reprinted in the New Yorker and Lahiri was one of 20 young writers heralded in the magazine's summer fiction issue focusing on writers for the 21st century.
With reporting by Dick Donahue.