Behind the Bestsellers
Daisy Maryles -- 1/29/01

New Year, New Oprah Pick | Another Day, Another Dollar
A Regional Hit for 'PW' Insider | Has This Shrub Matured?

New Year, New Oprah PickWhat a difference a day makes. Last Wednesday, Oprah
announced Joyce Carol Oates's The Last of the Mulvaneys as her first book club selection of 2001. About half an hour before that announcement, the novel ranked #19,869 at Thursday, after the program had been seen nationwide, that ranking changed a bit--to #1. Dutton published the book in September 1996; a Plume trade paperback followed in October 1997. According to Plume publicity manager Brant Janeway, there were 83,000 copies in print, with 800,000 ordered to meet the Winfrey windfall. (An additional 5,000 hardcovers will also be printed.) The novel, which chronicles the fall of a wealthy, socially elite family in upstate New York, received a starred PW review.

Another Day, Another DollarShe's back. Bright and sassy bestselling author Terry McMillan returns after a four-year hiatus with another blockbuster bestseller, A Day Late and a Dollar Short; PW's starred review noted that this book is "gutsier and less glitzy" than her previous bestseller. It lands in the top spot on our hardcover bestseller chart after just one week on sale. Back in 1992, Waiting to Exhale--her first big book--spent 43 weeks on PW's chart and didn't hit the #1 spot until week 16. How Stella Got Her Groove Back, published in 1996, enjoyed a 21-week run on the list, jumped into the #1 spot the first week out and stayed there for one more week. Copies in print for the hardcover edition of Exhale is 760,500, plus two million in print in paper. Stella has 1.1 million copies in print in hardcover; the paperback has 2.1 million copies in print. Viking reports A Day Late has 720,000 copies in print after two trips to press and the author will be on tour until the end of February. In an Essence interview, McMillan said that even though Exhale and Stella were movie hits and an earlier book, Disappearing Acts, did very well on HBO, she d sn't see her latest book as a movie.

A Regional Hit for 'PW' InsiderPlume's new January title, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, edited by Carol Taylor, has debuted in the #9 slot on the January 24 L.A. Times paperback fiction list. One of the stories in that anthology is by Diane Patrick, a PW freelance contributor who compiles the People column and is associate editor of PW's Rights Alert e-mail newsletter. First printing for Brown Sugar was 12,000 copies and the book has gone back to press three times, for a total of 23,000. Patrick wrote an unauthorized biography, Terry McMillan, published by St. Martin's Press back in September 1999.

Has This Shrub Matured?Given the rather significant event that took place on January
20 in our nation's capitol, we thought it might be interesting to revisit a title that's lurking just below our top 15 trade paperbacks. Shrub, a somewhat scathing look at George "Dubya" by Molly Ivins, was published by Random House in March 2000 (hardcover copies in print: 121,000). The Vintage edition, out last October, is up to 131,000 copies after four printings. A fifth print run (5,000 copies), due later this week, will include an essay by Ivins that originally ran in Time (Dec. 25, 2000) entitled "Yes, We'll Survive." Many readers might consider the Vintage edition a must-read for its new final chapter: "In Which Our Boy George Toddles Off to Run for President, Meets the Ferocious National Media, Defeats a Genuine War Hero by the Fairest of Means, and Starts Doing to Al Gore Just What He Did to Ann Richards: Is This Guy Presidential Timber, or What?"

FilmistakeWe noted last week that the movie rights to Brad Meltzer's latest bestseller, The First Counsel, had been sold to Fox 2000. We stand corrected: those rights not only have not gone to Fox 2000, they haven't been sold--yet--to anybody. The rights to Meltzer's first novel, The Tenth Justice, have been sold to Fox 2000.

With reporting by Dick Donahue.