It was a big week for Monica's Story by Andrew Morton and it comes as no surprise that the book hit the national charts in the top position during its first week in the stores. But while it was the bestselling title across the U.S., it did not set any sales records. Sales at the three national chains -- Barnes &Noble, Borders and Waldenbooks -- totaled more than 45,000 copies. That's about 10,000 less than first-week sales figures at these three outlets for Morton's earlier bestseller, Diana: Her True Story (Simon &Schuster), which also landed in the #1 spot, on October 17, 1997, after a week in the stores. But these days, huge sales also come via e-commerce, mass merchandisers and other nontraditional sales venues. St. Martin's went back to press during the first week, taking the initial printing from 420,000 to 700,000. Broadcast and print media were saturated with stories about the book. Now the question is how well it will do in its second week. Historically, scandal books don't stay atop the charts for more than a week or two, and often fall off completely after a month or so. Nipping at the heels of Monica's Story is All Too Human by George Stephanopoulos, which laid down on March 11 (the day this column g s to press), and judging from his very extensive media tour (which includes visits to 25 cities and ends in early May), it may be the next book to claim the #1 slot. That could happen next week, but will certainly occur the week after. Little, Brown has a 400,000-copy first printing. One prediction this bestseller pundit will make: Stephanopoulos's book will enjoy a much longer tenure on the weekly charts than Monica's Story.

Despite all the hype for Monica, America was paying attention to other books, especially a large number of new novels by veteran bestselling authors. Five of the top 10 hardcover fiction titles on this week's list are making a first appearance, an unusually high figure. Leading the pack is John le Carré with Single &Single, in the #2 slot; it was launched by Scribner with a 300,000-copy printing. Putnam is publishing Nora Roberts's latest (she had 11 bestsellers in 1998), River's End, with an initial run of 400,000. From Delacorte is Tara Road by Maeve Binchy (she was one of six authors in the Diet Coke promotion, in which book excerpts were bundled with the soda); first printing is 225,000. Putnam's other new fiction bestseller is Robin Cook's Vector, which has 275,000 copies in print. Bantam's Tami Hoag lands in the #10 spot with Ashes to Ashes, with a 250,000 first printing. More about these books next week.

The two new titles on our nonfiction list, both from HarperCollins imprints, clearly reflect America's growing interest in health-related issues. The first, Dr. Michael F. Roizen's RealAge, was published by Cliff Street Books on March 3 with a first printing of 22,500; four trips back to press have raised the total to 125,000. It all started with a February 25 appearance on Oprah, which reached more than 10 million viewers and gave the show its highest ratings in over a year. Dr. Roizen's Web site -- www.Realage. com -- received 22 million hits in less than 24 hours. In addition, the author conducted a live chat last week on Oprah's Web site. The book will be the subject of a 20/20 feature in mid-April and is set for coverage in Men's Health, Redbook, Weight Watchers, Woman's World, Glamour, etc. As part of his seven-city media tour, Roizen was interviewed last week on Good Morning America; he can also be heard on a 40-city radio satellite tour through April.

The second healthy title is The 30-day Total Health Makeover by Marilu Henner with Laura Morton. (The actress's first book, Marilu Henner's Total Health Makeover, spent 13 weeks on our list beginning last May and has more than 220,000 copies in print.) The new title, published on March 3 by ReganBooks, has 150,000 copies in print after five trips to press. The vivacious Henner has already visited Rosie, Regis and Kathie Lee and Good Morning America.

With reporting by Dick Donahue