The 11% sales increase posted by Hachette Book Group USA in the first six months of 2008 “was very, very satisfying,” said CEO David Young, noting that all divisions contributed to the gain. But while all of HBG is doing well, Young said 2008 “could be remembered as the year of Stephenie Meyer.” Her two bestselling Twilight Saga titles continue to sell well, and Meyer's first adult title, The Host, hit the bestseller list; the third Twilight book, BreakingDawn, was released over the weekend. To meet the demand for Dawn, HBG added another 500,000 copies to its print run, upping the first printing to 3.7 million. “It's been one of the most exciting things in my career to watch the growth of Stephenie's audience,” said Young.
HBG has more going for it than just Meyer, however. Other strong performers in the Little, Brown Books for Young Readers group include the Clique series and Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. On the adult side, James Patterson continues to produce bestsellers, while David Sedaris's When You Are Engulfed in Flames is his biggest hit yet.
While Meyer and Patterson will be important factors in the second half, Young predicted HBG will have one million copies of The Shack in print by August (in addition to the 1.1 million already shipped by Windblown Media). “We are going to have a banner year,” Young said. “We are enjoying the moment.”