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Behind the Bestsellers
Daisy Maryles -- 8/14/00

Kudos for St. Martin's | Lucky Seven in Mass Market
Hitting the High Seas | Perfect Is as Perfect D s
Murphy's Law Runs Rampant

Kudos for St. Martin's It's the second time this summer that St. Martin's has had a fiction bestseller land in the #1 spot after just one week in the stores. Back on July 3, Janet Evanovich's Hot Six could make that claim. This week, it's Rosamunde Pilcher's Winter Solstice--published under the Thomas Dunne imprint--hitting the charts at that high level. The publisher launched the book with a 600,000-copy first printing and has already gone back to press for a 100,000-copy reprint. According to the publisher, this is one of the few instances that the major clubs (in this case, Literary Guild, Doubleday and Book-of-the-Month) all took the same title as a main selection.

Lucky Seven in Mass MarketIt's a big week for mass market, with seven books making a first appearance, six in the top 10. Taking the #1 spot is Patricia Cornwell's Black Notice. Cornwell often makes it to the top in her first week of sales and her books have been bestsellers in 25 countries; the hardcover of Black Notice spent 12 weeks on PW's list in 1999. Berkley reports two million copies in print after two trips to press. In the #2 spot is Sandra Brown's The Alibi, published by Warner, with 1.5 million copies in print; it enjoyed a seven-week run on our list. Stephen King takes #5 with Hearts in Atlantis, published by Pocket with a two-million-copy first printing; it was on our hardcover list for 15 weeks. Richard North Patterson's Dark Lady from Ballantine, in the #6 spot, has 1.3 million copies in print and had a six-week run on the hardcover chart. The other three new bestsellers are all paper originals. In the #7 spot is Zebra's The Guest Listby Fern Michaels; total copies in print after two trips to press: 850,000. Del Rey's latest Star Wars hit is The New Jedi Order(Agents of Chaos 1, Hero's Trial) by James Luceno, at #10 with 275,000 copies in print. And finishing off the top 15 is Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas. Avon released the book with a 440,000-copy printing; the author is not doing any publicity because she is expecting her second child this month.

Hitting the High SeasNathaniel Philbrick's father, a college English professor with a specialty in American sea fiction, used to regale his two sons with the vivid story of an 85-foot whale that sank a ship back in 1820. Some years later, Philbrick has turned those bedside remembrances into a bestseller--In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. The book, which marks its eighth week on our list, was published by Viking on May 8 and now boasts 218,000 copies in print after 13 trips to press. Philbrick is currently on the second leg of his publicity tour, and national media highlights have been NPR's Morning Edition, WGN radio's Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg and major features on Amazon.com and B&N.com. Vanity Fair's May issue devoted 11 pages to Philbrick's yarn; other print coverage includes Talk, Forbes, Time, the Wall Street Journal and the Boston Herald, which chose In the Heart of the Sea as its inaugural book club selection.

Perfect Is as Perfect D sLinda Howard's at it again. Her latest Pocket Books hardcover, Mr. Perfect (pub date: July 25), becomes this popular author's sixth novel to hit our lists--Shades of Twilight started the bestseller ball rolling back in July of 1997, when it spent a month on our hardcover chart. Last June, Pocket's mass market edition of All the Queen's Men spent two weeks on that list; that hardcover, too, was a four-week tenant on the fiction roster. Publicity for Howard's latest has made excellent use of the Web: B&N.com, All About Romance (www.likesbooks.com) and theWriterspace.com have all featured Mr. Perfect, and local print, TV and radio coverage has followed Howard on her seven-city tour of the southeast. Perfect copies in print: 180,250.

Murphy's Law Runs RampantIn reprinting the July Evangelical Christian Bestseller list, we made several errors. Payne Stewart should be #1 on the hardcover nonfiction list, followed by Praying God's Word, Life on the Edge, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire and This Is Your Time. On the hardcover fiction list, the numbers are correct but out of order.

With reporting by Dick Donahue
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