This is the first year that our weekly bestseller lists have each contained 25 titles; previously, the charts were 15 titles deep. Looked at over the course of 2013, the change yields several important insights. In spite of the expansion, most titles had short tenures on the lists. Staying at the top of the lists was more difficult than ever. And despite having smaller shares of the total bestseller positions in 2013 than in 2012, Random House and Penguin USA, the two biggest U.S. publishers, are still behemoths in the bestseller sweepstakes. Since their merger was not finalized until the middle of 2013, we handled them as separate entities here; that will change in 2014.
If 2012 was the year of the rise of erotic romance, thanks to E.L. James, 2013 was quacked up in a much different way. The Robertsons, the hirsute family who created Duck Dynasty, A&E’s most successful reality show, generated massive amounts of cash for the network, themselves, and Howard Books, a division of S&S. Many family members wrote books that took over the lists in 2013, with five titles on our Hardcover Nonfiction charts this year and one on the Trade Paperback lists. Three of the hardcovers are on the longest-running list, and the five books made up about 8% of nonfiction real estate—meaning that they occupied 8% of the total of 1,300 slots on the year’s 52 Hardcover Nonfiction lists. Patriarch Phil Robertson made some homophobic remarks in a GQ interview that stirred considerable controversy, and A&E put him on a temporary suspension that lasted only nine days. At no point were sales of the book impacted.
The power of the Big Six—Random House, Penguin, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Macmillan—remain strong. The Big Six own 89.6% of hardcover real estate and 70.7% of paperback. If you add in the additional three publishers—Hyperion, Harlequin, and Kensington—the nine corporations together accounted for 91.7% of hardcover and 89.2% percent of paperbacks on the lists. Harlequin enjoyed huge increases in its number of mass market bestsellers—88 in 2013, compared to 37 on the 2012 list.
Landing Short, Not Long
Since 2013’s numbers reflect our 25-deep weekly lists, it is no surprise that more new titles landed on the bestseller charts in 2013 than ever before—a whopping 997 hardcovers and paperbacks achieved that goal. The previous record was set in 2012, when 742 new titles landed on PW’s weekly lists. (While PW has been using Nielsen BookScan data to produce its weekly charts since June 2012, the first time such sales figures were in play for a whole year was in 2013.) What has not changed, however, is how the figures are distributed over the four weekly charts—Hardcover Fiction, Hardcover Nonfiction, Mass Market, and Trade Paperback. Just as in previous years, Mass Market welcomed the most first-timers to the charts, with 290 books; Trade Paperbacks saw 187 new titles. The Hardcover Fiction total came in at 251, and Hardcover Nonfiction had 269. Also, the majority of these books had short tenures on the list, as in previous years. In Hardcover Fiction, 181 of the newbies were on the lists for three weeks or less (90 made one-week-only appearances), amounting to 72% of the total. There were only 28 novels with double-digit tenures, 11% of the total. Of the new Hardcover Nonfiction bestsellers in 2013, 32 titles, or 12%, had double-digit runs and 181 others (67%) lasted three weeks or less (with 109 for single-week runs).
Curiously, Mass Market titles had longer tenures, on average, than either of the hardcover categories. Of the 290 newcomers to the Mass Market bestseller lists in 2013, 108, or 37%, lasted three weeks or less, and 51 were around for one week only. Few titles in the Mass Market lists had double-digit tenures, as usual, reaching only about 4.5% of the total.
Trade Paperback tenures were also longer than their hardcover counterparts on the whole. About 41, or 22%, of the 187 new Trade Paperback bestsellers in 2013 had double-digit runs, and short runs of three weeks or fewer made up 105, or 56%, of the total.
Getting to #1 Is Harder
Back in 2012, 89 titles on the four weekly charts hit the #1 spot, more than the 78 that ranked first in 2013. Only three of them had runs lasting 10 or more weeks at the top, while 40 each spent one week in that coveted spot. Kudos to the winning trio: Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson, 12 weeks (Howard Books); Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, 11 weeks (Holt); and Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, on the Trade Paperback charts for 18 weeks (Simon & Schuster). Only two other list veterans had impressive tenures as chart toppers: John Grisham, for Sycamore Row, and Dan Brown’s Inferno—both with eight-week runs in the #1 spot on the Hardcover Fiction weekly lists, and both from Doubleday. Six titles by James Patterson and his coauthors collectively racked up 11 weeks at #1 in Hardcover Fiction. According to Nielsen, Brown’s 2013 Inferno sold more than 1.4 million units, giving it a very strong shot at being the year’s bestselling novel (our unit sales totals for the year will appear in the March 17 issue).
There were 27 novels that topped our Hardcover Fiction list, and 19 held first place for one week only. In Mass Market, 25 reached #1, with 14 being knocked off the top after a single appearance. Among those 14 were books by bestseller veterans such as Harlan Coben, Mary Higgins Clark, Sue Grafton, and Daniel Silva.
Newcomers vs. Veterans
Despite PW’s deeper charts, increased opportunities for debut novels did not materialize. Looking at the 251 titles that made it to our 2013 Hardcover Fiction lists, only three were debuts—Ghostman by Roger Hobbs (Knopf), Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (HarperCollins), and The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (Bloomsbury). The first two had only one-week runs, the third lasted for four weeks. One book briefly masqueraded as a first fiction—The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith from Little, Brown/Mulholland. It received very good reviews and posted modest sales, until a chatty lawyer for J.K. Rowling told a friend that the acclaimed Harry Potter author penned the book; the friend told a journalist acquaintance, and the rest is bestselling history. The book was on the charts for 15 weeks in 2013, one of only five fiction titles to last that long. According to BookScan, Cuckoo sold more than 307,000 copies in 2013.
For the past few years, we have been tracking three prolific authors who have more bestselling titles on the weekly lists than any of their colleagues: Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber, and James Patterson (with his many cowriters). The three had a total of 203 books on the weekly Mass Market charts, occupying more than 15% of the real estate. Add the 10 titles on the Mass Market lists from Nicholas Sparks and Danielle Steel and that figure jumps to more than 20%. That’s a group more authors would like to join.
The most popular Hardcover Nonfcition category was food and diet, with at least 40 titles on the weekly charts. Four made it onto the list of 2013’s longest-running Hardcover Nonfiction bestsellers: It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow (Grand Central); Shred: The Revolutionary Diet by Ian K. Smith (St. Martin’s); Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter); and The Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy (Harmony).
Religion also proved to be stronger than in past years, and many general publishers had books in this category on the charts. The publishers that focus on religion also did very well on the general Hardcover Nonfiction charts: Thomas Nelson, FaithWords, Zondervan, Waterbrook, Tyndale, Abingdon, Deseret, and David C. Cook held a combined total of 117 slots on the 2013 lists—9% of the bestseller real estate. Two books, I Declare by Joel Osteen (FaithWords) and Jesus Today by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson), were on the longest-running chart.
An unusual Trade Paperback bestseller boasted 19 weeks on our lists (and held the #1 spot for a single week) in 2013: DSM-5, the diagnostic manual for psychiatric disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is a $149 professional manual that sold well beyond the 36,000 or so members of APA. In September, BookScan reported sales of more than 135,000 copies.
One of the more intriguing bestsellers in 2013 was Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, a former Wall Street lawyer. Published by Broadway Books, it topped the longest-running Trade Paperback list and had the longest tenure of any 2013 bestseller. The book is described as an introvert’s manifesto, and the author also advocates reading rather than partying—a suggestions that people in the book business can agree on.
Bestsellers by Corporation
How the large companies fared on PW’s 2013 charts.
|Company||# of books||# of Weeks||% Share||% +/- from '12|
|Random House Inc.||129||644||24.8%||-2.2%||74||503||19.3%||-12.2%|
|Simon & Schuster||70||340||13.1||-1.3||53||338||13.0||+4.6|
|Hachette Book Group USA||66||400||15.4||+1.5||56||413||15.9||-0.8|
*This figure represents each publisher’s share of the 2,600 hardcover or 2,600 paperback bestseller positions during 2013.
PW’s 2013 Longest-Running Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction
# of weeks on 2013 top-25 lists
|33||*Inferno. Dan Brown. Doubleday|
|28||And the Mountains Echoed. Khaled Hosseini. Riverhead|
|26||*Gone Girl. Gillian Flynn. Crown (30)|
|15||*The Cuckoo’s Calling. Robert Galbraith. L, B/Mulholland|
|15||*The Longest Ride. Nicholas Sparks. Grand Central|
PW’s 2013 Longest-Running Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction
|38||*Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Live. Sheryl Sandberg. Knopf|
|36||The Duck Commander Family. Willie & Korie Robertson. Howard Books|
|34||*Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander. Phil Robertson. Howard Books|
|31||*Life Code: The New Rules for Winning in the Real World. Phil McGraw. Bird Street Books|
|31||I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak over Life. Joel Osteen. FaithWords (14)|
|29||*Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot. Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Henry Holt (12)|
|25||Jesus Today: Experience Hope Through His Presence. Sarah Young. Thomas Nelson (4)|
|24||*Shred: The Revolutionary Diet. Ian K. Smith. St. Martin’s|
|23||It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Make You Look Good and Feel Great. Gweneth Paltrow. Grand Central|
|21||*The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Histria. Shigeru Mayamoto. Dark Horse|
|19||*Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. David Sedaris. Little, Brown|
|18||Daring Greatly. Brene Brown. Gotham|
|17||Dad Is Fat. Jim Gaffigan. Crown Archetype|
|17||Si-Cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle. Si Robertson. Howard Books|
|15||Barefoot Contessa Foolproof. Ina Garten. Clarkson Potter (8)|
|15||Keep It Pithy: Useful Observations in a Tough World. Bill O’Reilly. Crown Archetype|
|15||The Fast Metabolism Diet. Haylie Pomroy. Harmony|
|15||Guinness World Records 2014. Guinness World Records. Guinness Publishing|
PW’s 2013 Longest-Running Bestsellers: Mass Market Paperback
|17||*The Racketeer. John Grisham. Dell|
|17||*The Best of Me. Nicholas Sparks. Grand Central|
|16||*American Sniper. Chris Kyle. Harper|
PW’s 2013 Longest-Running Bestsellers: Trade
|48||Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Susan Cain. Broadway Books|
|43||*Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey in the Afterlife. Eben Alexander. Simon & Schuster (9)|
|39||Beautiful Ruins. Jess Walter. Harper Perennial|
|39||Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail. Charyl Strayed. Vintage|
|38||The Light Between Oceans. M.L. Stedman. Scribner|
|38||Where’d You Go Bernadette. Maria Semple. L, B/Back Bay|
|27||The Paris Wife. Paula McLain. Ballantine (4)|
|22||ObamaCare Survival Guide. Nick J. Tate. Humanix Books|
|21||*The Casual Vacancy. J.K. Rowling. L, B/Back Bay|
|19||I Declare. Joel Osteen. FaithWords|
|19||Reflected in You. Sylvia Day. Berkley (9)|
|19||*DSM-5. American Psychology Association|
|18||Orphan Train. Christina Baker Kline. Morrow|
|18||America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great. Ben Carson. Zondervan|
|17||Fifty Shades of Grey. E.L. James. Vintage (41)|
|17||Fifty Shades Darker. E.L. James. Viking (36)|
|17||*Joyland. Stephen King. Hard Case Crime|
|17||The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Stephen Chbosky. MTV Books (19)|
|15||The Silver Linings Playbook. Matthew Quick. FSG/Sarah Crichton|
|15||Life of Pi. Yan Martel. Mariner. (9)|
|15||Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness. Susannah Cahalan. Simon & Schuster|
|15||Under the Dome. Stephen King. S&S/Gallery|
|15||Fifty Shades Freed. E.L. James. Vintage (36)|
*Asterisked titles achieved the #1 spot during their 2013 tenure on PW’s weekly top-25 lists.
Numbers in parentheses show how many weeks the title spent on PW‘s top-15 lists prior to 2013. paperback.
Ranking the Houses: How the Divisions and Imprints Competed in 2013
|Publisher||# of Books||# of Weeks|
|Simon & Schuster||21||72|
|Houghton Mifflin Harcourt||6||23|
|Thomas Dunne Books||3||5|
|Dark Horse Comics||2||22|
|Guinness World Records||2||18|
|Ten Speed Press||2||7|
|Wizards of the Coast||2||4|
|America’s Test Kitchen||2||2|
|Bird Street Press||1||31|
|Feiwel & Friends||1||6|
|Greenleaf Book Group||1||3|
|Blue Rider Press||1||2|
|Hudson Street Press||1||2|
|Spiegel & Grau||1||2|
|American Psychology Assoc.||1||1|
|An Inc. Original||1||1|
|Cash Money Content||1||1|
|David C. Cook||1||1|
|Concorde Music Group||1||1|
|Days of Our Lives||1||1|
|Harvard Business School||1||1|
|Simon & Schuster||4||64|
|American Psychology Assoc.||2||20|
|Washington Square Press||2||12|
|Hard Case Crime||1||17|
|Spiegel & Grau||1||8|
|American Test Kitchen||1||1|
|Chicken Soup for the Soul||1||1|
|Quail Ridge Press||1||1|
|Reiman Media Group||1||1|
|Ten Speed Press||1||1|
All the numbers reflect first-time landings on the bestseller lists during a given year.
2013 was the first time that the numbers reflected the top 25 books for each list; previous calculations were based on the top 15.