The Quality of Mercy

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson is the #8 book in the U.S. this week, and #2 on our Trade Paperback list. It debuted last week at #12 in trade paper, with 5,193 print units sold. It’s up 399% this week, with almost 26K print units sold. Starbucks has been promoting the title, offering it for sale in participating stores and donating profits to the Equal Justice Initiative, which Stevenson founded to provide legal representation to those denied fair treatment by the criminal justice system. The book details the author’s work with the nonprofit organization.

The October 2014 hardcover edition of Just Mercy debuted modestly, selling 4,424 print units and slowly racking up sales of nearly 54K print units, though it never landed on PW’s list. It also garnered numerous accolades, including the Carnegie Medal for nonfiction, awarded at the ALA Annual Conference on June 27. Many librarians in attendance called Stevenson’s timely book-award acceptance speech the best they’d ever heard; you can read the transcript at

(See all of this week's bestselling books.)

Strong Sales

At #1 in Hardcover Nonfiction and #4 overall, selling more than 30K print units, Rising Strong is the latest self-help title from Brené Brown, a research professor with a doctorate in social work. Her most recent book, 2012’s Daring Greatly, sold 8,649 units in hardcover its first week and has gone on to sell almost 342K in hardcover, and another 50K in a paperback edition that pubbed in April. The author’s top-selling title to date is 2010’s The Gifts of Imperfection, with paperback sales of more than 569K.

Movie Watch

Films such as War Room, squarely aimed at an evangelical Christian audience, rarely make mainstream headlines. But in its opening weekend, according to Deadline, this latest from the Kendrick Brothers production company—which, according to its website, “exists to honor Jesus Christ”—was the #2 movie in the country. It beat out films like the Owen Wilson–Pierce Brosnan action thriller No Escape, and the Zac Efron vehicle We Are Your Friends, both of which also debuted the weekend of August 28–30.

Two books associated with the movie appear on our Trade Paperback list this week. At #12, The Battle Plan for Prayer by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick sold 5,593 print units, and at #17, the novelization War Room by Chris Fabry sold 4,963 print units. Both titles pubbed in early August.

Notable Debuts

by Sue Grafton
#1 Hardcover Fiction
#1 Overall
49K print units

Grafton’s 24th “alphabet” mystery—and the first whose title doesn’t include the words is for—ends Go Set a Watchman’s six-week run at the top of PW’s hardcover fiction list.

Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-a-Lot
by Dav Pilkey
#4 Children’s Frontlist Fiction
8,820 print units

The day before the August 25 release of this book, the 12th outing for Captain Underpants, author Pilkey rang the Nasdaq opening bell in N.Y.C.

Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity
by Steve Silberman
#16 Hardcover Nonfiction
2,616 print units

Oliver Sacks, who died on August 30, wrote the forward to this book, which investigates the history of autism and why diagnoses have soared in recent years.

Top 10 Overall

Rank Title Author Imprint Units
1 X Sue Grafton Putnam/Wood 49,349
2 Gray Mountain John Grisham Dell 43,254
3 The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin CreateSpace 34,993
4 Rising Strong Brené Brown Random/Spiegel & Grau 30,559
5 Wildest Dreams Robyn Carr Mira 30,389
6 Go Set a Watchman Harper Lee Harper 29,960
7 Grey E.L. James Vintage 25,943
8 Just Mercy Bryan Stevenson Random/Spiegel & Grau 25,893
9 The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Marie Kondo Ten Speed 24,837
10 It ‘Is’ About Islam Glenn Beck S&S/Threshold 22,750

All unit sales per Nielsen BookScan except where noted.