Monday, March 27, 2006

Sunday Times UK Bestseller List

I love the British bestseller lists. They show exactly how many copies each book on the list sold that week and how many in total. It gives me hope that I could hit the bestseller list if I ever published in the UK at the right time of the year. Check out the nonfiction hardcover list. At #10 is Wall & Piece by Banksy, a graffiti artist. It sold 890 copies last week and 51, 485 overall. Now surely I could convince 900 people to head to the stories in all of England and pick up a book of mine the weekend it hit the stores. (And forever after I could be described as "best-selling author" or "UK best-selling author" or "Times of London best-selling author," etc. Those low figures are precisely why US booksellers resist giving such detailed info to the public. They think people would be disillusioned to see how little copies some bestsellers actually move. (Certainly when you get into the mystery or children's or poetry lists, probably 100 copies at the right time could get you on the charts.) I say the more accurate the better. Stephen King tops the fiction list with Cell, moving 8,085 copies. And the description of Alexander McCall's Smith new mystery Blue Shoes and Happiness captures the appeal of his series quite deftly: "Precious Ramotswe solves more cases and ponders whether to diet."

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