Last year at the end of this annual bestseller article, we made the obvious prediction that unit sales for hardcover bestsellers would be even lower for 2012 books and that the “e-book explosion could be the culprit.” There were no naysayers to that comment and the lists below prove that we were all right on the money. The count for 2012 topsellers with 100,000+ in sales is 91 for hardcover fiction and 74 for hardcover nonfiction—both figures are record lows. In 2011, it was 113 for fiction and 83 for nonfiction; in 2010, 126 for fiction and 108 for nonfiction. And while these figures dwindled, the opposite was the case for e-books, as can be observed in our extensive listing, beginning on page 27.

What does not change from year to year is the content/authors of these end-of-the-year lists. The fiction top 15 include the usual veterans—Patterson, Evanovich, Grisham, Clancy, Baldacci, Harris, Beck, Connelly, Child, and Vince Flynn. All have graced these lists many times and some for decades. Kudos to John Grisham, who has not missed a year in the top 15 since his first appearance with The Firm in 1991. There are two newcomers on the fiction list. In the #1 slot is J.K. Rowling for her novel, The Casual Vacancy—her first foray into the adult market. Of course, Rowling has been a habitual lead player on the children’s charts with her Harry Potter books. Another Flynn—Gillian—is #3 with sales of more than 900,000 copies of Gone Girl. It is her third book. There are two debut fiction titles on this list of 113 bestsellers—Rules of Civility by Amor Towles and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman; both enjoyed glowing reviews as well as impressive sales.

On the nonfiction side, familiar subjects—politics, cooking, and religion—reigned. Past presidents—Kennedy, Lincoln, and Jefferson—were the focus of three books on the top 10 as was a book critical of our current president. Peruse the nonfiction list and there are at least six more books focusing on past and current presidents, making the presidency the subject of almost 15% of the topsellers. Cookbooks—both healthful and decadent—enjoyed 13 books on the nonfiction list; the religion category has 12 bestselling titles, three in the top 10. Another popular subject was Navy Seals, with two winners in the top 10 and one more in the top 73.

Our prediction for 2013 books—more of the same winners in hardcover fiction and nonfiction, but with fewer titles and lower units. In e-books, the sky is the limit.

The Usual Disclaimer

As in previous years, all the calculations on the following pages are based on shipped-and-billed figures for new books with sales of 100,000 units or more in cloth or paper. While many publishers did calculate early returns, sales figures should not be considered final, especially for books published in the latter quarter of the year. That’s not a problem for e-books, where returns are not part of the scenario, as all books are direct to consumer and not returnable.

Note: For both print and e-books, Penguin USA and all Random House imprints supplied sales figures in confidence for use in placing books on the list. Those titles carry an asterisk. Occasionally, we rounded down a few of their numbers to indicate their relationship to figures for other titles.



1. The Casual Vacancy. J.K. Rowling. Little, Brown (1,318,605)

2. *The Racketeer. John Grisham. Doubleday

3. *Gone Girl. Gillian Flynn. Crown


4. *Notorious Nineteen. Janet Evanovich. Bantam

5. Merry Christmas, Alex Cross. James Patterson. Little, Brown (447,418)

6. *Calico Joe. John Grisham. Doubleday

7. *Winter of the World. Ken Follett. Dutton

8. The Last Man. Vince Flynn. Atria/Emily Bestler (435,715)

9. *Threat Vector. Tom Clancy with Mark Greaney. Putnam


10. The Forgotten. David Baldacci. Grand Central (384,128)

11. Deadlocked. Charlaine Harris. Ace (350,000)

12. Agenda 21. Glenn Beck. Threshold Editions (348,227)

13. 11th Hour. James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. Little, Brown (330,914)

14. The Black Box. Michael Connelly. Little, Brown (321,561)

15. *A Wanted Man. Lee Child. Delacorte

16. The Time Keeper. Mitch Albom. Hyperion (306,581)


17. Love in a Nutshell. Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly. St. Martin’s (299,869)

18. NYPD Red. James Patterson and Marshall Karp. Little, Brown (296,498)

19. The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel. Stephen King. Scribner (293,165)

20. *The Sins of the Mother. Danielle Steel. Delacorte

21. Where We Belong. Emily Giffin. St. Martin’s (288,966)

22. Kill Shot: An American Assassin Thriller. Vince Flynn. Atria/Emily Bestler (288,355)

23. *A Dance with Dragons. George R.R. Marin. Bantam

24. *The Bone Bed. Patricia Cornwell. Putnam

25. The Innocent. David Baldacci. Grand Central (281,152)

26. *Of Mice and Men. John Steinbeck. Penguin Press

27. The Panther. Nelson DeMille. Grand Central (265,264)

28. Guilty Wives. James Patterson and David Ellis. Little, Brown (252,667)

29. I, Michael Bennett. James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. Little, Brown (249,916)

30. Private: #1 Suspect. James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. Little, Brown (247,287)

Zoo. James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. Little, Brown (246,178)

*Poseidon’s Arrow: A Dirk Pitt Novel. Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler. Putnam

*The Witness. Nora Roberts. Putnam

*Friends Forever. Danielle Steel. Delacorte

Private Games. James Patterson and Mark T. Sullivan. Little, Brown (223,852)

The Bridge. Karen Kingsbury. Howard Books (219,706)

Flight Behavior. Barbara Kingsolver. Harper (211,000)


*Wicked Business. Janet Evanovich. Bantam

*Betrayal. Danielle Steel. Delacorte

*Shadow of Night: A Novel. Deborah Harkness. Viking

Winter Dream. Richard Paul Evans. Simon & Schuster (183,333)

Home Front. Kristin Hannah. St. Martin’s (175,668)

Lost Years. Mary Higgins Clark. Simon & Schuster (173,986)

*Angels at the Table. Debbie Macomber. Ballantine

*Stolen Prey. John Sandford. Putnam


*Odd Apocalypse. Dean Koontz. Bantam

Cold Days. Jim Butcher. Roc (165,000)

Low Pressure. Sandra Brown. Grand Central (159,022)

Back to Blood. Tom Wolfe. Little, Brown (156,953)

*Mad River. John Sandford. Putnam

Bring Up the Bodies. Hilary Mantel. Henry Holt (155,673)

Live by Night. Dennis Lehane. Morrow (154,738)

*Defending Jacob. William Landay. Delacorte

*The Inn at Rose Harbor. Debbie Macomber. Ballantine


*Stay Close. Harlan Coben. Dutton

*Rules of Civility. Amor Towles. Penguin Press

*Delusion in Death. J.D. Robb. Putnam

*Celebrity in Death. J.D. Robb. Putnam

*The Twelve. Justin Cronin. Ballantine

*The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. Ayana Mathis. Knopf

The Fallen Angel. Daniel Silva. Harper (141,000)

The Round House. Louise Erdrich. Harper (139,000)

*The Tombs: A Fargo Adventure. Clive Cussler and Thomas Perry. Putnam

*The Storm: A Novel from the NUMA Files. Clive Cussler and Graham Brown. Putnam

15 Seconds. Andrew Gross. Morrow (130,509)

Come Home. Lisa Scottoline. St. Martin’s (128,010)

*Backfire. Catherine Coulter. Putnam


The Hobbit, Deluxe Pocket Edition. J.R.R. Tolkien. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (123,821)

What Doesn’t Kill You. Iris Johansen. St. Martin’s (122,077)

Bloodline. James Rollin. Morrow (121,516)

*I’ve Got Your Number. Sophie Kinsella. Dial Press

The Light Between Oceans. M.L. Stedman. Scribner (118,457)

*The Thief: An Isaac Bell Adventure. Clive Cussler and Justin Scott. Putnam

*Believing the Lie. Elizabeth George. Dutton

Two Graves. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Grand Central (116,924)

Sleep No More. Iris Johansen. St. Martin’s (115,463)

*Sweet Tooth. Ian McEwan. Doubleday/Nan A. Talese

Porch Light. Dorothea Benton Frank. Morrow (113,132)

*Catch Me. Lisa Gardner. Dutton

*Sweet Talk. Julie Garwood. Dutton

*Lover Reborn. J.R. Ward. NAL

The Wolf Gift. Anne Rice. Knopf (102,577)

A Perfect Blood. Kim Harrison. Harper Voyager (102,156)

Telegraph Avenue. Michael Chabon. Harper (102,000)

Sins of the Father. Jeffrey Archer. St. Martin’s (101,002)

*Kiss the Dead. Laurell K. Hamilton. Berkley

Spring Fever. Mary Kay Andrews. St. Martin’s (100,543)

Sacre Bleu. Christopher Moore. Morrow (100,057)



1. Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot. Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Holt (1,516,778)

2. *No Easy Day: The Firsthand Accounts of the Mission that Killed Osama Bin Laden. Mark Owen with Kevin Maurer. Dutton


3. Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America. Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (928,377)

4. Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. Ina Garten. Clarkson Potter (763,483)

5. Cross Roads. William Paul Young. Faith Words (748,543)


6. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier. Ree Drummond. Morrow (551,721)

7. American Sniper. Chris Kyle. Morrow (547,781)


8. I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life. Joel Osteen. Faith Words (495,453)

9. The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House. Edward Klein. Regnery (449,940)

10. *Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. Jon Meacham. Random House

11. Wheat Belly. Dr. William Davis. Rodale (428,681)


12. *Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Cheryl Strayed. Knopf

13. America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t. Stephen Colbert. Grand Central (361,143)

14. *Unbroken. Laura Hillenbrand. Random House

15. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence. Sarah Young. Thomas Nelson (317,952)


16. *In the Kitchen with David. David Venable. Random House

17. Jesus Today: Experience Hope Through His Presence. Sarah Young. Thomas Nelson (285,682)

18. Thinking Fast and Slow. Daniel Kahneman. Farrar, Straus & Giroux (280,514)

19. *Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. Susan Cain. Crown

20. Shred: The Revolutionary Diet: 6 Weeks 4 Inches 2 Sizes. Ian K. Smith. St. Martin’s (273,890)

21. One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. Ann Voskamp. Zondervan (266,000)

22. Heaven Changes Everything: Living Every Day with Eternity in Mind. Todd and Sonja Burpo. Thomas Nelson (264,453)

23. My Year in Meals. Rachael Ray. Atria Books (264,111)

24. Steve Jobs. Walter Isaacson. Simon & Schuster (259,592)

25. The Blood Sugar Solution: The Ultrahealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now! Mark Hyman. Little, Brown (253,152)

26. *The Power of Habit. Charles Duhigg. Random House

27. Go the F**k to Sleep. Adam Mansbach. Akashic Books (200,000)


28. Total Recall. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Simon & Schuster (192,432)

29. *Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner. Giada De Laurentiis. Clarkson Potter

30. *The Big Mess: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods. Hank Haney. Crown Archetype

*Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. Katherine Boo. Random House

It Worked for Me. Colin Powell. Harper (180,000)

*Fifty Shades of Chicken: A Parody in a Cookbook. F.L. Fowler. Clarkson Potter


Heaven Is for Real. Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. Thomas Nelson (177,251)

The Great Destroyer: Barack Obama’s War on the Republic. David Limbaugh. Regnery (175,320)

The Pioneer Woman Cooks. Ree Drummond. Morrow (174,868))

The Price of Politics. Bob Woodward. Simon & Schuster (174,509)

Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream. Dinesh D’Souza. Regnery (174,480)

*The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail but Some Don’t. Nate Silver. Penguin Press

Let It Go: Forgive So You Can Be Forgiven. T.D. Jakes. Atria (168,829)

*Rod. Rod Stewart. Crown Archetype

*Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power. Rachel Maddow. Crown

*The Skinny Rules. Bob Harper. Random House

*The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Deb Perelman. Knopf

Cowards: What Politicians, Radicals, and the Media Won’t Tell You. Glenn Beck. Threshold Editions (165,054)

*The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson. Robert A. Caro. Knopf


Trickle Down Tyranny: Crushing Obama’s Dream of the Socialist States of America. Michael Savage. Morrow (153,957)

The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life. Timothy Ferriss. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (151,146)

Change Your Words, Change Your Life: Understanding the Power of Every Word You Speak. Joyce Meyer. Faith Words (150,748)

Good to Great. Jim Collins. HarperBusiness (150,000)


Bruce. Peter Ames Carlin. Touchstone (143,480)

Grace. Max Lucado. Thomas Nelson (141,417)

Who I Am. Pete Townshend. Harper (140,000)

Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity. Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. Simon & Schuster (138,729)

Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die. Willie Nelson. Morrow (136,690)

Do Yourself a Favor... Forgive: Learn How to Take Control of Your Life Through Forgiveness. Joyce Meyer. Faith Words (134,300)

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940–1965. William Manchester with Paul Reid. Little, Brown (133,983)

*Waging Heavy Peace. Neil Young. Blue Rider Press

My Cross to Bear. Gregg Allman. Morrow (131,235)

Good to Great. Jim Collins. HarperBusiness (130,000)


Chronicles of Downton Abbey. Jessica Fellowes. St. Martin’s (126,283)

*The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies. Jared Diamond. Viking

17 Day Diet: A Doctor’s Plan Designed for Rapid Results. Dr. Mike Moreno. Free Press (125,542)


The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears. Mark Batterson. Zondervan (118,350)

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character. Paul Tough. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (116,661)

Great by Choice. Jim Collins. HarperBusiness (114,000)

Change: Activating the 10 Human Drives that Make You Feel Alive. Brendon Burchard. Free Press (109,633)

The End of Illness. David B. Agus. Free Press (109,044)

The Cake Boss: Family Favorites as Only Buddy Can Serve Them Up. Buddy Valastro. Atria Books (106,273)

Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966–2012. Carol Loomis. Portfolio (106,076)

*Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir). Jenny Lawson. Putnam/Amy Einhorn Books

*Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. Anna Quindlen. Random House

Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown. Eric Blehm. WaterBrook Press (105,085)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles: Art & Design. Weta. HarperDesign (101,000)

One Last Strike. Tony La Russa. Morrow (100,057)