Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Notes from PW
Leave it to you BGs to shoot oodles of title ideas my way. I think we covered just about every color and time of day, don’t you? From Khaki Star (only a sci-fi writer could come up with that one) to Scarlet Eve. (Hm. Sounds like two well-known female characters.)
Before I forget, would all of you who are attending Mount Hermon kindly leave a comment and tell us so? It would be nice to know what fellow BGs will be around. I have a few in my own fiction mentoring track. I will be blogging from MH, and it would be great to see y’all in the lounge at night and have you make an appearance on Forensics and Faith. Think of all the stories you can tell about the editors/agents.
Now for today, some news from Publisher’s Weekly:
1. Koontz hits the screen! His upcoming novel, The Husband (released in May) will be brought to you by Random House Films (the jointly run development and production hybrid established by the publisher and Focus Features). The Husband is about a man on a hunt to save his wife. RH Films president Peter Gethers, said that The Husband holds promise because it's "a commercial book, but one with some real depth and heart to it." Yup, that Koontz always has a lot of heart.
2. Numbers are in for the top-selling books of 2005. (Based on numbers provided by publishers of books shipped and billed.) Interesting to see that within the top 15 in fiction, a whopping 10 are in the mystery/suspense/thriller category. Suspense rules! Top seller was Grisham's The Broker, weighing in with 1,827,877 books. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code was second, with 1,575,342. James Patterson’s Mary, Mary was third, with 1,103,036. Patterson also appears at numbers 11, 12, and 13, each one selling in the 700,000’s, making him the largest selling novelist for the year. Nicholas Sparks’ At First Sight is at 4, with 1,093,717; Patricia Cornwell at 3 for Predator, selling 1,040,250; and Nicholas Sparks again at #5 with True Believer, selling 1,040,250. Jan Karon’s Light From Heaven is at 6 with 872,000. Number 15 on the list, David Baldacci’s The Camel, sold 634, 054, not exactly shabby. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins were at #19 and #21 for The Rising and The Regime, selling in the 500s and 400s, respectively.
3. There’s an interesting article by Jonathan Merkh, senior VP and publisher of Nelson Books, bemoaning the fact that general market bestseller lists don’t count sales at Christian bookstores. Merkh says, “. . . the Book Industry Study Group and major retailers continue to identify the religion category as one of the fastest growing in the industry . . . “I believe that if [these sales were counted], Christian titles would dominate—yes, dominate—the lists.”
Here’s the crux of the matter, as Merkh points out: neither Christian retailers nor the general market bestseller lists want Christian retail sales to be counted. One of the reasons from the general market it that “it would be too much work to try to count the estimate from the different markets and then weigh them in comparison to each other.” Christian retailers don't want their books counted because they fear the general bookstores will “cherry-pick their sales.” But as Merkh points out, “if general market retailers want to cherry-pick, all they have to do is look at the Christian bestseller lists.”
He concludes: “Developing a way to count all book sales would benefit the entire industry. It would provide more accurate information to the reading public. It would give publishers of all types a better understanding of what the readers are really reading and shape future publishing decisions. Christian stores would profit, because more Christian books on the bestseller lists could mean an increased public awareness of (and interest in) their stores. General market stores could improve their sales if they saw how well Christian books sold, because they'd be able to make more informed decisions about what to buy and perhaps improve their sales by dedicating more space to the category.”