Every fall, publishers release their most promising titles, building momentum in the stores that culminates at the holidays. For those in the industry, the pacing of these waves of books is a story in itself. And now, with the help of our new on-sale calendar—which focuses on the hardcover titles with the biggest printings and the biggest buzz—it's easier to see how the season flows and to analyze its major themes.
While this year's lineup boasts more brand names and a broader mix of subjects than last year's, the looming question is how much the election-year drama will distract book buyers and the media before November 2. A close look at our calendar reveals that publishers are playing it safe, releasing nonfiction titles by TV titans Dr. Phil McGraw and Donald Trump before the election, while many of the season's biggest fiction blockbusters will land after the election (presuming it's over by November 3).
When it comes to fiction laydowns, Patricia Cornwell's early arrival on September 7 is an exception. That explains why there's a logjam around the week of November 8, when new titles from James Patterson, Tom Wolfe, Janet Evanovich, and Mary and Carol Higgins Clarke hit stores, each with announced printings that approach or exceed one million copies. Good luck to S&S in breaking out Martin Cruz Smith's new thriller—arriving the same week with a 150,000-copy printing—which the house is touting as his best since Gorky Park. And unless someone ducks fairly soon, Nelson DeMille, Tony Hillerman, and Ken Follett will all go head to head the week of November 22.
The November fiction pileup doesn't seem to raise intense concern for Borders Group senior v-p Bill Nasshan or Random House field sales director Paul Kozlowski, however. In the past three years or so, the holiday selling season has become condensed into the two or three weeks leading up to Christmas anyway, said Kozlowski.
The concentration of brand-name novels later in the season may also give some literary titles a chance to find their legs, added Powell's buyer Gerry Donaghy, mentioning Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Sept. 8) as a likely breakout.
Overall, the pace of the major laydowns is in line with last year, said Borders's Nasshan. He sees the season getting off to a strong start in September with Dr. Phil McGraw's self-help manual FamilyFirst and Kitty Kelley's dishy Bush dynasty bio, The Family, on the 14th. The following week, Stephen King delivers the final installment in his Dark Tower series, while Neal Stephenson ends his latest trilogy with The System of the World. (Nasshan is less concerned about the overlap between King's and Stephenson's audiences than about seeing a dip in sales six weeks later, when readers who would usually be ready for something new are still digesting those 900-page tomes.) Borders also has high hopes for Pope John Paul II's memoir Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way on September 28 and George Carlin's When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?, which may get some extra mileage out of its arrival on the pontiff's heels on October 12.
As the season advances, the wild card, of course, is the timing of any debates or pivotal speeches by President Bush or candidate Kerry. That may be why publishers are getting an early start with no-brainer gift books like The DaVinci Code Illustrated Edition (Oct. 19) and The Sinatra Treasures (Oct. 15).
Don't miss our interactive version of the on-sale calendar, which is updated weekly and includes links to reviews!
Sammy's Hill by Kristin Gore (Miramax, $23.95). 75,000 printing.
War and the American Presidency by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (Norton, $23.95). 65,000 printing.
Heir to the Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick (Houghton Mifflin, $24). 40,000 printing.
Pay it Down! From Debt to Wealth on $10 a Day by Jean Chatzky (Portfolio, $19.95). 100,000 printing.
Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism by Cornel West (Penguin Press, $24.95). 100,000 printing.
The Divine Husband by Francisco Goldman (Atlantic Monthly, $24). 60,000 printing.
How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale by Jenna Jameson (Regan Books, $27.95). 75,000 first printing.
Trace by Patricia Cornwell (Putnam, $26.95). 1,500,000 printing.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston (Atria, $26). 300,000 printing.
You're Hired: How to Succeed in Business and Life by Bill Rancic (HarperBusiness, $22.95). 300,000 printing.
Playing with Boys by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez (St. Martin's, $24.95). 250,000 printing.
In Pursuit of Peace: 21 Ways to Conquer Anxiety, Fear, and Discontentment by Joyce Meyer (Warner Faith, $21.99). 175,000 printing.
Confessions of an Heiress by Paris Hilton (Fireside, $22). 150,000 printing.
In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman (Pantheon, $19.95). 120,000 printing.
ESPN 25: 25 Mind-Bending, Adrenaline-Pumping, Culture-Morphing Years of Highlights by Charles Hirschberg with a foreword by Chris Berman (Hyperion, $25). 100,000 printing.
The Double by José Saramago, trans. by Margaret Jull Costa (Harcourt, $25). 60,000 printing.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury, $27.95). 200,000 printing.
What We've Lost by Graydon Carter (FSG, $22). 100,000 printing.
All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors,
Musicians, and Artists by Terry Gross (Hyperion, $24.95). 100,000 printing.
The Man Called Cash by Steve Turner (W Publishing, $24.99). 150,000 printing.
QBQ! The Question Behind the Question by John G. Miller (Putnam, $19.95). 125,000 printing.
The Inner Circle by T.C. Boyle (Viking, $25.95). 75,000 printing.
Family First by Dr. Phil McGraw (Free Press, $26). 2,000,000 printing.
Are You Afraid of the Dark by Sidney Sheldon (Morrow, $25.95). 750,000 printing.
The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty by Kitty Kelley (Doubleday, $29.95). 600,000 printing.
Blind Alley by Iris Johansen (Bantam Books, $25). 300,000 printing.
Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner (Atria, $26). 250,000 printing.
Carolyn 101: Business Lessons from
's Straight Shooter by Carolyn Kepcher (Fireside, $21.95). 150,000 printing.
In the Name of Defense: The Covert Government Experiment That's Killing American Soldiers by Gary Matsumoto (Basic, $25). 100,000 printing.
Master of the Game: Tales from a Republican Revolutionary by Trent Lott (ReganBooks, $25.95). 100,000 printing.
The Love Wife by Gish Jen (Knopf, $25). 75,000 printing.
There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale by Sean Astin, with Joseph Layden (St. Martin's, $24.95). 200,000 printing.
Courting Justice: A Lawyer's Casebook by David Boies (Miramax, $25.95). 100,000 printing.
America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction by Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show(Warner, $24.95). 300,000 printing.
Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt (Norton, $26.95). 75,000 printing.
The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower by Stephen King (Scribner/Donald M.Grant, $35). 750,000 printing.
Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy (Dutton, $25.95). 400,000 printing.
The System of the World by Neal Stephenson (Morrow, $27.95). 250,000 printing.
Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib by Seymour M. Hersh (HarperCollins, $25.95). 100,000 printing.
The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs (S&S, $25). 100,000 printing.
On the Run: A Mafia Childhood by Gregg and Gina Hill (Warner, $24.95). 100,000 printing.
Hallelujah! The Welcome Table by Maya Angelou (Random, $29.95).
Melancholy Ba by by Robert B. Parker (Putnam, $24.95). 175,000 printing.
The Fall of Baghdad by Jon Lee Anderson (Penguin Press, $24.95). 100,000 printing.
The Bomb in My Garden: The Secrets of Saddam's Nuclear Mastermind, by Mahdi Obeidi and Kurt Pitzer (Wiley, $24.95). 50,000 printing.
Off the Cuff: The Essential Style Guide for Men and the Women Who Love Them by Carson Kressley (Dutton, $24.95). 100,000 printing.
Rise, Let Us Be on Our Way by John Paul II (Warner, $21.95). 600,000 printing.
The Book of Secrets by Deepak Chopra (Harmony, $25). 250,000 printing.
The Gourmet Cookbook, edited by Ruth Reichl (Houghton Mifflin, $40). 250,000 printing.
Shopaholic & Sister by Sophie Kinsella (Dial Press, $23). 225,000 printing.
The O'Reilly Factor for Kids by Bill O'Reilly (HarperEntertainment, $22.95). 150,000 printing.
We Got Fired!... and It's the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us by Harvey Mackay (Ballantine, $23.95). 115,000 printing.
Exuberance: The Passion for Life by Kay Redfield Jamison (Knopf, $24). 100,000 printing.
The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon, $19.95). 100,000 printing.
Yao: A Life in Two Worlds by Yao Ming and Ric Bucher (Miramax, $22.95). 200,000 printing.
Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis, with Larry Sloman (Hyperion, $23.95). 125,000 printing.
Golden Boy by Paul Hornung (S&S, $25). 100,000 printing.
How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter by Ann Coulter (Crown Forum, $26.95). 400,000 printing.
Magical Thinking: True Stories by Augusten Burroughs (St. Martin's, $23.95). 400,000 printing.
Double Homicide by Jonathan and Faye Kellerman (Warner, $23.95). 300,000 printing.
Any Place I Hang My Hat by Susan Isaacs (Scribner, $26). 200,000 printing.
Receiving Love: Learn to Accept the Gift of Love and Heal Your Relationships by Harville Hendrix and Helen L. Hunt (Atria, $24.95). 150,000 printing.
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin, $26). 150,000 printing.
Face the Nation: My Favorite Stories from the First 50 Years of the Award-Winning News Broadcast by Bob Schieffer (S&S, $26.95). 150,000 printing.
Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous Style from the Heart of Italy by Frances Mayes (Broadway, $29.95). 100,000 printing.
John James Audubon: The Making of an American by Richard Rhodes (Knopf, $30). 100,000 printing.
Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton (MTV Books, $18). 100,000 printing.
War Trash by Ha Jin (Pantheon, $25). 40,000 printing.
Ronnie and Nancy: Their Path to the White House 1911—1980 by Bob Colacello (Warner, $27.95). 150,000 printing.
The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins (Houghton Mifflin, $28). 50,000 printing.
Come Thirsty: No Heart Too Dry for His Touch by Max Lucado (W Publishing, $22.99). 300,000 printing.
Where Shall Wisdom Be Found? by Harold Bloom (Riverhead, $24.95). 75,000 printing.
How to Be Lost by Amanda Eyre Ward (MacAdam/Cage, $24).
Northern Lights by Nora Roberts (Putnam, $25.95). 750,000 printing.
Emeril's Potluck by Emeril Lagasse (William Morrow, $24.95). 400,000 printing.
When Will Jesus Bring the Porkchops? by George Carlin (Hyperion, $23.95). 350,000 printing.
Confronting Reality: Master the New Model for Success by Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy (Crown Business, $27.50). 250,000 printing.
Chronicles: Volume I by Bob Dylan (S&S, $24). 250,000 printing.
They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine by Harold Evans (Little, Brown, $40). 150,000 printing.
A Paper Life by Tatum O'Neal (HarperEntertainment, $24.95). 100,000 printing.
Light on Snow by Anita Shreve (Little, Brown, $24.95). 100,000 printing.
Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential by Joel Osteen (Warner Faith, $19.99). 100,000 printing.
Trump: Think Like a Billionaire by Donald J. Trump with Meredith McIver (Random, $21.95).
The Darling by Russell Banks (HarperCollins, $25.95). 50,000 printing.
Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain (Bloomsbury, $34.95). 150,000 printing.
Metallica: This Monster Lives: The Inside Story of Some Kind of Monster by Joe Berlinger (St. Martin's, $24.95). 100,000 printing.
The Prince of Beverly Hills by Stuart Woods (Putnam, $25.95). 225,000 printing.
The Runes of the Earth by Stephen R. Donaldson (Putnam, $26.95). 175,000 printing.
The Courage Consort by Michel Faber (Harcourt, $23). 100,000 printing.
The Sinatra Treasures: Intimate Photos, Mementos and Music from the Sinatra Family Collection by Charles Pignone (Bulfinch, $45). 240,000 printing.
What Color Is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles (Ten Speed, $17.95). 200,000 printing.
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (St. Martin's, $24.95). 75,000 printing.
The Da Vinci Code: Special Illustrated Edition by Dan Brown (Doubleday, $35). 500,000 printing.
Double Shot by Diane Mott Davidson (Morrow, $24.95). 250,000 printing.
Tommyland by Tommy Lee with Anthony Bozza (Atria, $26). 200,000 printing.
The Winds of Change: A Richard Jury Mystery by Martha Grimes (Viking, $25.95). 90,000 printing.
Jan Karon's Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader by Jan Karon, ed. by Martha McIntosh (Viking, $29.95). 300,000 printing.
Savannah by John Jakes (Dutton, $23.95). 160,000 printing.
Opus: 25 Years of His Sunday Best by Berkley Breathed (Little, Brown, $27.95). 100,000 printing.
Atkins for Life Low-Carb Cookbook by Veronica Atkins with Stephanie Nathanson (St. Martin's, $25.95). 1,000,000 printing.
Echoes by Danielle Steel (Delacorte, $27). 900,000 printing.
Hour Game by David Baldacci (Warner, $26.95). 800,000 printing.
His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis (Knopf, $26.95). 500,000 printing.
To the Last Man by Jeff Shaara (Ballantine, $27.95). 200,000 printing.
The Delaney Christmas Carol by Kay Hooper, Iris Johansen and Fayrene Preston (Bantam, $20). 150,000 printing.
Beautified: Kyan's Secrets to Looking and Feeling Fabulous by Kyan Douglas (Clarkson Potter, $19.95). 100,000 printing.
Let Me Tell You a Story by John Feinstein and Red Auerbach (Little, Brown, $25.95). 100,000 printing.
The Perricone Promise: Look Younger, Live Longer in Three Easy Steps by Nicholas Perricone, M.D. (Warner, $27.95). 300,000 printing.
Jamie's Dinners: My Favorite Family Meals by Jamie Oliver (Hyperion, $34.95). 150,000 printing.
A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg (Random, $17.95).
George Foreman's Indoor Grilling Made Easy by George Foreman, with Kathryn Kellinger (S&S, $19.95). 150,000 printing.
Ronald Reagan by CBS News (S&S, $29.95). 150,000 printing.
Long Way Round: 2 Men, 2 Bikes, 20,000 Miles by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman (Atria, $26). 100,000 printing.
Feast by Nigella Lawson (Hyperion, $35). 125,000 printing.
We Are All the Same: A Boy's Courage, a Mother's Love by Jim Wooten (Penguin Press, $19.95). 100,000 printing.
Breaking Ground by Daniel Libeskind with Sarah Crichton (Riverhead, $27.95).
Songbook by Alicia Keys (Riverhead, $19.95).
Magic Seeds by V.S. Naipaul (Knopf, $25).
Citizen Girl by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (Atria, $24.95). 250,000 printing.
London Bridges by James Patterson (Little, Brown, $27.95). 1,000,000 printing.
Oh, Play That Thing by Roddy Doyle (Viking, $24.95). 70,000 printing.
I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe (FSG, $28.95). 1,500,000 printing.
Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich (HarperCollins, $26.95). 1,000,000 printing.
The Christmas Thief by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark (S&S, $25). 750,000 printing.
The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen R. Covey (Free Press, $26). 350,000 printing.
Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, $35). 250,000 printing.
The Gift of Change by Marianne Williamson (Harper San Francisco, $21.95). 150,000 printing.
Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith (S&S, $25.95). 150,000 printing.
Right Turns: Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life by Michael Medved (Crown Forum, $25.95). 100,000 printing.
Runaway: Stories by Alice Munro (Knopf, $25). 100,000 printing.
Heat: An Amateur Cook in a Professional Kitchen by Bill Buford (Knopf, $24). 100,000 printing.
The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios by Yann Martel (Harcourt, $23). 125,000 printing.
Bouchon by Thomas Keller (Artisan, $50). 100,000 printing.
The Soul of a Butterfly by Muhammad Ali, with Hana Ali (S&S, $21). 300,000 printing.
The Virgin's Lover by Phillippa Gregory (Touchstone, $24.95). 175,000 printing.
Adam Copeland: On Edge by Adam Copeland (Pocket Books/ WWE, $26). 150,000 printing.
The Godfather Returns by Mark Winegardner (Random, $26.95).
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (FSG, $23). 75,000 printing.
King of Cons: Exposing the Dirty, Rotten Secrets of the Washington Elite and Hollywood
Celebrities by Aaron Tonken (WND Books, $25.99). 200,000 printing.
Falling Awake by Jayne Ann Krentz (Putnam, $24.95).
Night Falls by Nelson DeMille (Warner, $26.95). 1,000,000 printing.
Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman (HarperCollins, $25.95). 400,000 printing.
Whiteout by Ken Follett (Dutton, $26.95). 370,000 printing.
Sharing Good Times by Jimmy Carter (S&S, $21). 350,000 printing.
Lidia's Family Table by Lidia Bastianich (Knopf, $35). 150,000 printing.
Bad Dirt by Annie Proulx (Scribner, $25). 125,000 printing.
Healthy Aging by Andrew Weil, M.D. (Knopf, $26.95). 750,000 printing.
Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz (Bantam, $27). 600,000 printing.
Triple H by Triple H (Pocket/WWE, $26). 200,000 printing.
The Success Principles by Jack Canfield (HarperResource, $24.95). 300,000 printing.
by Order of the President by W.E.B. Griffin (Putnam, $26.95).
The Cat Who Went Bananas by Lilian Jackson Braun (Putnam, $23.95).
Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman (Riverhead, $27.95).
Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the 2004 Season by Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King (Scribner, $25). 400,000 printing.
Red Leaves by Belva Plain (Delacorte, $26). 150,000 printing.
— with reporting by Raya Kuzyk