Clash of the Titans

It’s a big week for a pair of children’s authors who are well accustomed to big weeks: J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan. The #1 book in the country is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second of the new hardcover editions of Rowling’s series, with color illustrations by Jim Kay. Its first-week print unit sales eclipsed those for the first revamped title, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which pubbed this week last year and debuted at #5 in the country overall.

So what was #1 that week? The Sword of Summer, first in Riordan’s Magnus Chase series. The follow up, The Hammer of Thor, debuts this week at #2 in children’s fiction, and #5 in the country overall.

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

A Semple Plan

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple, the story of one woman’s catastrophically bad day and a “sharp, funny read” according to our review, lands at #7 in Hardcover Fiction. It’s the author’s first novel since 2012’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, a book whose popularity (502K print copies sold) has not only stoked interest in her new book but is also influencing Semple’s brand.

The familiar sunglasses-wearing face from the Bernadette cover appears as an icon on the Today Will Be Different jacket. On December 20, Little, Brown is releasing a mass market edition of Semple’s first novel, 2008’s This One Is Mine, with Bernadette branding.

First-Week Print-Unit Sales

This One Is Mine (2008) 237
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (2012) 2,722
Today Will Be Different (2016) 9,799

Religion Roundup

Three faith-based titles enjoyed strong debuts on our Hardcover Nonfiction list this week, and a fourth got a boost in its second week on sale.

After a relatively modest debut last week at #12 in nonfiction, Sarah Young’s Jesus Always is up nine notches this week and is the #8 book in the country overall. At #5 in nonfiction, Is This the End? by David Jeremiah, founder of the Turning Point ministry, examines current events through a biblical lens.

In Divine Dance, at #6, Franciscan friar Richard Rohr considers the concept of the Trinity, proposing a more accessible deity than the one who, according to his publisher, dominates popular imagination: “an angry, distant, moral scorekeeper or a supernatural Santa Claus.” One position below, Think Better, Live Better is the latest inspirational title from pastor and televangelist Joel Osteen, whose most recent book, 2015’s The Power of I Am, has sold 235K print copies.

New & Notable

Two by Two

Nicholas Sparks

#1 Hardcover Fiction, #3 overall

In his latest novel, Sparks, who in 2015 announced an amicable separation from his wife, writes of a man navigating single parenthood.

Love Your Life, Not Theirs

Rachel Cruze

#4 Hardcover Nonfiction

Cruze, who is coauthor with her father, Dave Ramsey, of 2014’s Smart Money Smart Kids, explains the financial perils of comparing oneself to others.

Top 10 Overall

Rank Title Author Imprint Units
1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Rowling/Kay Scholastic/Levine 76,266
2 The Girl on the Train Paula Hawkins Riverhead 65,394
3 Two by Two Nicholas Sparks Grand Central 63,541
4 Killing the Rising Sun O’Reilly/Dugard Holt 61,555
5 The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase #2) Rick Riordan Disney-Hyperion 58,641
6 Born to Run Bruce Springsteen Simon & Schuster 48,745
7 The Girl on the Train (trade paper movie tie-in) Paula Hawkins Riverhead 39,654
8 Jesus Always Sarah Young Thomas Nelson 39,279
9 The Girl on the Train (mass market movie tie-in) Paula Hawkins Riverhead 38,190
10 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child J.K. Rowling et al. Scholastic/Levine 37,907

All unit sales per Nielsen BookScan except where noted.