Back in his youth, John Grisham occasionally played quarterback for the Chargers of Southhaven High School in Mississippi, and perhaps occasionally scored a touchdown. But he had to wait until his writing career to become an All-American. The author regularly lands his hardcovers at the top of the charts and usually delivers the year's top-selling fiction book. His latest, Bleachers, makes it to the #1 spot the first week out; it's a "slight but likable" (according to PW's review) take on adults looking back on their high school football years. Making it to #1 is very good news, but less impressive are Grisham's opening-week tallies at the three major national chains. The combined figure for Barnes & Noble, Borders and Waldenbooks is close to 52,000—perhaps his lowest opening-week sales. His legal thriller The King of Torts sold more than 98,000 copies at the same three chains in its first week. Doubleday printed two million copies of Bleachers and both author and publisher turned to new venues to promote it. Grisham was interviewed for Bob Costas's HBO show Inside the NFL and participated in a 20-city national sports-radio satellite tour that included ESPN. The publisher sent out 400 signed footballs to booksellers and also offered them as prizes on sports radio stations along with a copy of the book.

—With reporting by Dick Donahue