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Behind the Bestsellers
Daisy Maryles -- 4/3/00

A Book for Rudy

The only new nonfiction bestseller on PW's list this week is one that New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani would like every Empire State resident to read. In The Case Against Hillary Clinton, author Peggy Noonan is very critical of Clinton politics, especially the First Lady's bid for the New York State Senate. "Too corrupt for New York" is one of her gentler charges. ReganBooks has been back to press five times on the book, bringing the total in print to 116,000 copies. Not surprisingly, all Noonan's speaking engagements are centered in the New York market and in Washington, D.C.

Oprah's New Pick

A recently published first novel, Back Roads, was chosen by Oprah to be her next book club pick. For author Tawni O'Dell and publisher Viking, this means a shot at the top of the hardcover charts for the January title and an in-print total of about 650,000 copies instead of the 27,000 pre-Oprah. This is the second Viking pick; the first, Songs in Ordinary Time by Mary McGarry Morris, was chosen when it was a Penguin reprint. The announcement immediately had one desired effect--O'Dell's book went to #1 on the Amazon.com bestseller list.

A Fantasy Comes True

Bestselling fantasy authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman hit the national bestseller charts with Dragons of a Fallen Sun, the first book in the War of Souls trilogy. Publisher Wizards of the Coast launched the newest Dragonlance book with a 180,000-copy first printing. The publisher noted that Dragonlance is one of the best known and loved brands in fantasy fiction, and it is often a young reader's first exposure to the fantasy genre. The house began its marketing efforts by building awareness for the new series with 70,000 sample chapters distributed through retailers and at conventions beginning in fall 1999. The house's Web site, www.wizards.com, also posted the excerpt and author interviews. Wizards repackaged Weis and Hickman's first three Dragonlance novels, the Chronicles Trilogy, with new covers designed to appeal to a broader audience and shipped 1200 backlist floor displays with reservation board headers for the new book.

No Holds Barred

It's a double hit for Nevada Barr with her latest Anna Pigeon book, Deep South, landing in the #10 slot on PW's hardcover fiction list and the previous book, Liberty Falling, rounding out the mass market list. Putnam launched the hardcover on March 20 with 75,200 copies in print. As the series' fans know well, both the heroine and the author are National Park rangers and each novel takes place in a different park; Deep South is set in the Natchez Trace Parkway. The author is in the midst of an 18-city tour that continues until April 14. Avon, publisher of all of Barr's backlist, released Liberty Falling with a 200,000-copy printing. The house is quite pleased with its long relationship with the author and points with pride to the dedication on Liberty: "For Trish: once my agent, twice my editor, always my friend." Trish Grader, Avon/Morrow executive editor, edited Barr's first and only non-Anna Pigeon novel, Bittersweet, while at St. Martin's. Later, Grader became Barr's agent at IMG-Julian Bach Literary Agency. The two were reunited once again when Trish returned to editorial, joining Avon Books, and becoming Nevada's editor for the second time, now as her reprint editor.

Black Hawk Up

Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down continues its run on the trade paperback list, marking four weeks on PW's charts with 220,000 copies in print after three trips to press. The hardcover (152,000 copies after five trips to press) enjoyed a run of three weeks on PW's list in 1999. The author is finishing a 20-city tour that included stops at independent, chain and airport bookstores, plus signings at armed forces bases.
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