Analysis of this week's besteller lists.
Hide the Knives
Flynn’s Girl debuts in third place on this week’s Fiction list preceded by considerable fanfare. PW’s starred, boxed review called the book “a must read for any fan of bad girls and good writing,” and Janet Maslin in the New York Times called Flynn’s work a “dazzling breakthrough… wily, mercurial, subtly layered and populated by characters so well imagined that they’re hard to part with.” Bestselling mystery scribes Tana French, Kate Atkinson, and Laura Lippman have added their plaudits as well, and the book’s been selected as an Indie Next pick. In an Apr. 2 PW q&a (“Unhappily Ever After”), the author, asked about her dark side, replied, “I am on the surface an incredibly even-keeled, laid-back Midwestern type, but in my mind I occasionally indulge in wonderful dreamscapes of revenge and become quite the drama queen.” Flynn, an erstwhile TV critic for EW, was interviewed June 5 on NPR’s Morning Edition, and features ran in the summer reading editions of EW and Time. Her previous novels, 2007’s Sharp Objects and 2010’s Dark Places, have sold, respectively, 96,251 and 72,872 copies, according to BookScan. And it looks like Flynn will be going to the movies: according to a report in the May 15 Variety, Amy Adams (The Muppets, Julie & Julia) is in negotiations to star in Dark Places, with Sarah’s Key director Gilles Paquet-Brenner at the helm.
Both books take a critical look at President Obama and the Obama administration, and Ross believes they will continue to sell well up until the November election. “Every political publisher wants to have a book that sparks a debate and raises issues that matter to people,” Ross said. To meet the expected continued demand, Regnery has 400,000 copies in print for Amateur, while Destroyer has 250,000.
Next up for the publisher is No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom by Phyllis Schlafly and George Neumayr, who examine what they see as the Left’s war on religion. Coming in August is Dinesh D’Souza’s Obama’s America plus a revised edition of George Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty that includes a new prologue and epilogue by Gilder. -D.D.
Oprah: Back to Before Winfrey Goes Wild
“I love this book. I want to shout it from the mountaintop. I want to shout it from the Web. In fact, I love this book so much and want to talk about it so much, I knew I had to reinvent my book club.” So writes Ms. Winfrey in the July issue of O, and thus was born Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, with Cheryl Strayed’s Wild as selection 2.0. Is it working? You bet.
Strayed’ s engrossing odyssey, subtitled From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, received a solid boost in print sales after the New York Times June 1 announcement of the revitalized club. In the week ending June 10, Wild sold more than 11,000 copies, a 220% jump in sales over the prior week at outlets tracked by Nielsen BookScan. (The book climbed from #25 on our May 28 Nonfiction list to #6 on today’s list.) But that was just the tip of the iceberg, reports Knopf’s Paul Bogaards, who said that e-book sales of Wild were triple the total print number (Nielsen tracks about 80% of print sales) in the first week.
The editions of Wild with the Oprah cover sticker shipped the week of June 11, and Bogaards said while e-book sales remain strong, Knopf has noted steady gains in print accounts as well. And although Winfrey’s TV presence isn’t as strong as it once was, she “remains a powerful advocate for books. People trust her recommendations, “ Bogaards said.
After 12 trips to press, Wild has 225,000 copies in print, including 100,000 that bear the Oprah seal. -D.D.
Series Top the Kids’ Charts
If you peruse our children’s frontlist fiction list, one very noticeable trend becomes apparent. And it’s nothing new: kids love to read in series. The top 10 spots are all taken by books that are part of a series or a trilogy. A new Dork Diaries title has zoomed to the top of the chart with a fourth installment, Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess, which sold just over 25,000 copies via BookScan in its first week. Rick Riordan, no stranger to bestseller lists, wraps up his Kane Chronicles trilogy with The Serpent’s Shadow (just under 19,000 sold last week, and 269,000 so far this year). And the 11th Pretty Little Liars title, Stunning, takes the #3 position in its first week, with just above 10,000 sold. In all, BookScan shows 1.25 million Dork Diaries books sold (excluding boxed sets), 1.82 million Kane Chronicles books sold (including a Survival Guide), and 2.8 Pretty Little Liars books (helped in no small part by the ABC Family TV series, which has just started its third season).
Other series in the top 10: James Patterson’s Middle School books, Veronica Roth’s dystopian Divergent trilogy, John Grisham’s Theodore Boone series of “kid lawyer” novels, the indefatigable Wimpy Kid, a Hunger Games movie tie-in edition (the three Hunger Games novels are #1, #2, and #3 on the overall children’s fiction list, which incorporates backlist), and Michael Scott’s latest entry in the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. It isn’t until positions #13 and #14 that you can find two stand-alone novels: John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (4,716 copies sold last week; 164,840 in total); and Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (4,389 copies sold last week; 304,258 in total). -D.R.
Anita Blake Rides Again
Laurell K. Hamilton lands at #1 today with her latest Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, novel. (Last summer’s Hit List also scored the top spot and ran for five weeks.) The author moved her Merry Gentry series from Ballantine a couple of years ago, which made Berkley her sole publisher. Says Berkley editorial director Susan Allison, “When a series is successful into its 20th book and beyond—Kiss the Dead is the 21st Anita Blake novel—you know it has to be blessed with a rich world and a complicated main character.” Hamilton’s two recent Blake hardcovers, 2011’s Hit List and 2010’s Bullet, sold 65,390 and 115,558, respectively. Fans can look forward to the next entry, as yet untitled, in June 2013. -D.D.