We continue to see a significant increase in backlist sales of titles on the Mideast, Islam and terrorism. Two books that had been on our bestseller charts previously return this week: Karen Armstrong's Islam: A Short History, part of the Modern Library Chronicles series, and Anchor's From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas Friedman, an updated edition of the 1990 bestseller. Armstrong's book, published August 2000, had 50,000 copies in print before September 11. Since then, that figure has doubled, and Modern Library expects to go back to press for more.

Instant books are also hitting the stores, and one seems to be doing particularly well--it's been the leading trade paper bestseller at Waldenbooks for the last two weeks. Published by American Products Publishing Company, based in Beaverton, Ore., Day of Terror: A Document of American History was launched September 25 with a 125,000-copy first printing. Publisher Robert Shangle previously produced several books dealing with disasters: Mt. St. Helens, the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, the 1994 L.A.-Northridge earthquake, Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and the northwest flood in 1996. APP's primary products are scenic/educational books on the 50 states.

With reporting by Dick Donahue.