Gladwell on Slaying Giants

Sales of David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell spiked in the week ended July 13, with 4,838 print copies sold, according to Nielsen BookScan, up more than double from the week before, when it sold 2,311 copies. The fall 2013 release is #7 on this week’s Hardcover Nonfiction list.

While David & Goliath was published by Little Brown, and thus affected by the stand-off between Amazon and Hachette, neither Gladwell—nor his publisher—had to take a page from his book, which is about the link between adversity and innovation, to jump-start sales. CBS rebroadcast Gladwell’s interview with Anderson Cooper which originally aired on Nov. 24, 2013, on CBS’s 60 Minutes.

Gladwell was inspired to write David & Goliath after hearing a Silicon Valley software mogul’s story about coaching his daughter’s basketball team of 12-year-old girls “who had absolutely no talent” on persevere against better teams. The team had the “most maniacal defense known to man,” resulting in an undefeated season and a trip to the state championships, Gladwell said. After telling that same story to Winter Institute 8 booksellers in 2013, Gladwell pointed out, “Amazon has made you better booksellers. It has forced you to differentiate yourselves.”—Claire Kirch

Thor’s World War

Act of War, Brad Thor’s 13th military action thriller starring Scot Harvath, debuts at #1 on our Hardcover Fiction list.

This installment explores one nation’s real-world plan to destroy the United States via “unrestricted warfare.” “The first and most unsettling rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules,” Thor says. “America’s enemies understand that the United States cannot be defeated on the conventional battlefield. That’s why one enemy in particular has decided to abandon the battlefield in favor of incredibly devious, unconventional attacks.”

Thor has served as a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Analytic Red Cell Program, and has appeared on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Channel, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and The Blaze as a national security expert. The Chicago Tribune has called Thor “quite possibly the next coming of Robert Ludlum”; Corpus Christi’s KKTX has named him “America’s favorite author.”

Thor has already appeared on more than two dozen radio shows and nine talk shows. His 12-city book tour, which kicked off July 9 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., concludes on July 22 at the Barr Memorial Library in Fort Knox, Tenn. Marketing includes two billboards, one located in Nashville, Tenn., the other outside the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey.—Sarah Andrew

How Much Is the “Colbert Bump” Worth?

California, the debut novel by Edan Lepucki, has become the “poster book” for the fight between Stephen Colbert and Amazon, which didn’t accept preorders for the title.

After Colbert endorsed California on the Colbert Report on June 4, first-week sales were strong enough to propel the previously unknown author onto the New York Times bestseller list at #3, although the book did not do as well as expected.

Nielsen BookScan reported sales of 3,793 print copies, which puts it at #20 on our Hardcover Fiction list. However, more than 10,000 copies that Lepucki presigned last month for Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., were not reported to BookScan. If these copies had been included, the title would have landed at #7.

Even without the signed preorder copies, sales for the novel were strong enough to hit seven out of eight regional bookseller association lists. California went as high as #2 in both Northern and Southern California, where Lepucki kicked off her tour; it hit #3 in both the Pacific Northwest and the New Atlantic regions. It was #4 on the Indie Bestseller list.

Little, Brown orders reprint before publication, and the publisher launched with 60,000 copies.—Judith Rosen

Top 10 Overall

Rank Title Author Imprint This Week Units
1 Four Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 106,248
2 The Fault in Our Stars John Green Penguin/Speak 64,550
3 The Fault in Our Stars (movie tie-in) John Green Penguin/Speak 36,600
4 Act of War Brad Thor Atria 29,598
5 Looking for Alaska John Green Penguin/Speak 28,419
6 Gone Girl Gillian Flynn Broadway 28,014
7 Deadline Sandra Brown Vision 25,100
8 Invisible Patterson/Ellis Little, Brown 24,319
9 America Dinesh D’Souza Regnery 22,443
10 If I Stay Gayle Forman Penguin/Speak 21,381