KING TAKES THE THRONE
There was only one day that suited as the laydown date for Stephen King's latest bestselling novel, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon -- April 6, opening day for Major League Baseball. The idea for the book came during a much-deserved break from writing that King had planned. Inspiration came while he was attending a Red Sox game at Fenway Park last July, watching relief pitcher Tom Gordon save one of the 44 games that he did last season for his team. It's shorter than the usual King book-224 pages, compared with 560 for his most recent bestseller, Bag of Bones -- but according to a starred PW review: "It's classic King, brutal, intensely suspenseful, an exhilarating affirmation of the human spirit." And it's no surprise that in addition to a national newspaper campaign and national radio advertising, Scribner is also promoting the book on the Fenway Park scoreboard. First printing is 1,250,000 copies.
THE CLINTON BOOK BEAT
While George Stephanopoulos continues to enjoy the lead spot on the hardcover nonfiction chart with All Too Human, Monica's Story falls out of the top 15 after a five-week-run. In a touch of bestseller list irony, her spot is taken by Uncovering Clinton: A Reporter's Story by Michael Isikoff, who is credited with breaking the Monica Lewinsky story, as well as the Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey stories. Isikoff appeared on Dateline NBC on April 7 to launch the book's publicity campaign and was interviewed on the Today show the following morning. A slew of national TV and radio appearances followed in the next week, including appearances on Larry King, CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose, Fresh Air and All Things Considered. After the Dateline appearance, Crown immediately went back to print, bringing the total copiest to 120,000. Isikoff is on a book tour on that will take him to 10 cities through the beginning of May.
Steve Ross, the editor of Uncovering Clinton, is also enjoying the success of Our Dumb Century (Three Rivers Press, Apr.) by Scott Dikkers and the editors of The Onion, which he also edited. The book makes it onto the April 18 New York Times paperback list and is up to about 130,000 copies in print after two trips to press.
POR MAYES, LA VITA E BELLA
Frances Mayes is back on the national bestseller charts with her newest, Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy, and so is her earlier success, Under the Tuscan Sun. The latter had an impressive run on PW's trade paper list and boasts 960,000 copies in print after 33 trips to press. The newest book went out with a 175,000-copy first printing and has gone back to press four more times, making 250,000 copies in print. Mayes just began a 22-city tour that will keep her on the road through the end of May. Broadway has arranged for a number of cross promotions, including a tie-in with Ruffino wines. Mayes's book will be featured on a recipe booklet strung around the necks of bottles of Fonte al Sole; Ruffino is also providing free wine to bookstores hosting Mayes.
THE PAPERBACKING OF 'ANGELA'S ASHES'
Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes has enjoyed the kind of bestseller run that most authors don't even dare dream about -- more than two years on the national charts and hardcover sales approaching the 2.5-million mark. The Scribner book was published in more than 25 languages and garnered many prizes, including the 1997 Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Critics Circle Award and the American Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award (ABBY). Now Touchstone hopes to do as well with the trade paper edition, scheduled to go on sale around May 25 with a 750,000-copy first printing. It will be supported by a $500,000 advertising campaign that includes print and TV ads. McCourt's millions of fans can also look forward to the sequel, 'Tis, planned for September, and the 1999 Paramount Pictures film of Angela's Ashes in time for the holidays.