MCCOURT LEADS THE COURT
'Tis the bestselling court that Frank McCourt is leading, both on the trade paper list with his first book, Angela's Ashes, and the nonfiction hardcover charts with 'Tis: A Memoir. Angela's Ashes enjoyed a 104-week tenure on PW's weekly charts from September '96 to September '98 and has about 2.4 million copies in print after 65 printings. The paperback edition so far has been on our charts for 18 weeks; copies in print are at 1,235,000. Scribner launched 'Tis with a one-million-copy first printing and has been back to press four times, taking the in-print total to 1.3 million. A key factor in the stellar success of Angela's Ashes was all the touring and speaking McCourt did on the book's behalf. Recognizing the author's huge appeal, Simon & Schuster Audio announced a special rebate for the 'Tis audio (read by McCourt). For each book copy purchased of 'Tis, S&S will give a $5 rebate on an abridged audio or CD (retail price is $26 and $32 respectively) or a $10 rebate on an unabridged audio (retail: $49.95) through January 31, 2000. Angela's Ashes was published in 18 countries and won several literary awards, including the 1997 Pulitzer Prize and the 1996 National Book Critics' Circle Award. The Alan Parker film is scheduled for a November release. For 'Tis, McCourt will be on the road through January, making media and bookstore appearances in more than 30 cities. In his home state of Connecticut, tickets quickly sold out for his book-signing and lecture appearance (capacity was about 850). One eager fan, a doctor, was so disappointed that he unsuccessfully tried to bribe a bookstore employee with medical service for her child for life in hopes of securing a seat.
MORE FROM THE AULD SOD
McCourt isn't the only writer from the Emerald Isle to grace this week's charts. Following the success of his 1993 Booker Prize winner, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, Roddy Doyle turns his attention to another Irish youngster -- A Star Called Henry was published by Viking on September 13 and now boasts 68,000 copies in print after three printings. Landing on a bestseller list rife with such brand names as Stephen King, Elizabeth George, Patricia Cornwell, Robert Parker et al. is no mean feat, but widespread review attention and Doyle's intensive publicity efforts seem to be paying off handsomely. Front-page raves in such papers as the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Boston Globe have been bolstered by glowing notices in numerous other papers. A New York Times profile of Doyle appeared on September 22, with a USA Today profile expected to run shortly. The author arrived from Dublin on September 16 to begin a 10-city tour; he did local and national radio shows at each stop and read to enormous crowds at such venues as the New York Public Library, Denver's Tattered Cover, the Writers Guild Theater in L.A. and City Arts and Lectures in San Francisco. Despite the tour's hectic pace, Viking reports that Doyle spends some time each day e-mailing his young children in Dublin (he carted his laptop across the pond specifically for that purpose).
TARGETING THE READING GROUPS
Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible was so popular with reading groups that HarperCollins wanted to maximize that selling quality for the Flamingo trade paper edition, which debuts this week in the #8 slot on PW's trade list. To that end, it has published a companion guide for the book with plot summary, author background and suggested discussion questions. The hardcover edition, which had a 30-week run on PW's fiction list, has about 425,000 copies in print; the paperback's in-print total is 275,000. According to HC, Poisonwood netted more hardcover copies than any of Kingsolver's previous books (three novels, a short story collection, a p try collection and two nonfiction works).
With reporting by Dick Donahue.