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Riverhead Crests the Charts
Daisy Maryles -- 4/13/98
Riverhead Books, one of the more successful imprint launches in recent publishing history, adds two more notches to its bestselling belt. In fiction -- a challenging list to crack with a new and literary author -- it managed to do the near impossible with a book set in Oxford in the 17th century. An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears was a national bestseller in England and the publisher touted it as rivaling the works of Umberto Eco. PW's starred review noted that this "absorbing, macabre tale of murder, politics, faith and betrayal" will be "far more accessible" than any of Eco's books. A strong element of Riverhead's launch was an unconventional pre-publication author tour, which took place last fall, in late October and early November. In each city he visited, Pears had breakfast with local booksellers to talk about his forthcoming literary thriller, which also features actual historical figures. Rave reviews before and after the book's March 9 pub date helped the retailers' committed handselling efforts. Copies in print total 95, 600.
New on PW's monthly religion list this week is Kathleen Norris's Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith. It jumped right into the #2 slot and is also right below PW's general hardcover top 15 list. Copies in print total 100,200, and Norris is doing a 20-city national reading and booksigning tour that ends on May 1.
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