Dan Brown’s Inferno is the bestselling print and Kindle e-book so far this year, but, unlike last year when the 20 books on our print and Kindle e-book year-to-date bestseller lists looked very similar at the top, there’s a big difference between the two for the first six months of 2013.
Last year, the 50 Shades and Hunger Games trilogies were tearing up both the print and e-book lists, owning, in all formats and editions, the top nine print slots and the top seven e-book slots. While titles in both series are still selling, they’re not nearly the juggernaut they were, with Fifty Shades of Grey lingering on the print list, and Fifty Shade Freedat the bottom of the Kindle list.
The print list this year has a few surprises: depending on your definition of “thriller,” there are only four books in this genre represented in the top 20 (Inferno, Gone Girl, World War Z, and The Innocent). That’s right: of the top 20 selling titles so far this year in print, none were written by James Patterson. Commercial and literary fiction (Khaled Hosseini’sAnd The Mountains Echoed notched in at #9 in print) share space with highbrow nonfiction (Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, at #4) and children’s books from Jeff Kinney and Dr. Seuss.
The Great Gatsby enjoyed a huge lift in print and e from the film adaptation, and the Robertson family — the colorful, supremely bearded Louisiana family behind the Duck Dynasty TV phenomenon — is selling print books at a rate to keep up with their duck calls.
The e-book list is dominated by genre fiction and big brand name authors (Patterson, Sparks, Baldacci, Coben, Picoult, Roberts), though two self-published books, Colleen Hoover’s Hopelessand Elisabeth Naughton’s Wait For Me, muscled onto the list. Only one YA novel made the cut on the e-book list, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia.
It’s difficult to pin down an average retail price for print books, but it’s safe to say that e-books on the Kindle list are priced substantially lower than their print counterparts, with only eight of 20 Kindle e-books priced at $9.99 or above as of July 3, for an average price of just under $8.
Bestsellers, January-June 2013
Nielsen BookScan Top 20, week ending 6/30/13
1. Inferno by Dan Brown (Doubleday)
2. Proof Of Heaven by Eben Alexander (Simon & Schuster)
3. The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books)
4. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (Knopf)
5. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson)
6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Scribner)
7. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss (Random House)
8. Fifty Shades Of Grey by E. L. James (Vintage)
9. And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead)
10. Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson (Howard)
11. A Memory Of Light by Robert Jordan (Tor)
12. Green Eggs And Hamby Dr. Seuss (Random House)
13. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown)
14. American Sniper by Chris Kyle (Harper)
15. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Gallup Press)
16. World War Z by Max Brooks (Three Rivers Press)
17. The Best Of Me by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central)
18. Shred: The Revolutionary Diet by Ian K. Smith (St. Martin’s)
19. The Innocent by David Baldacci (Vision)
20. The Duck Commander Family by Willie Robertson (Howard)
Amazon Kindle Top 20, as of 7/1/13
1. Inferno by Dan Brown (Doubleday)
2. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central)
3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown)
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Scribner)
5. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover (Colleen Hoover)
6. The Hit by David Baldacci (Grand Central)
7. Wait for Me by Elisabeth Naughton (Elisabeth Naughton)
8. Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson (Little, Brown)
9. Entwined with You by Sylvia Day (Berkley)
10. Damaged by H.M. Ward (Laree Bailey Press)
11. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia (Little, Brown)
12. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (Sarah Crichton/FSG)
13. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (Atria)
14. The Forgotten by David Baldacci (Grand Central)
15. Six Years by Harlan Coben (Dutton)
16. 12th of Never by James Patterson (Little, Brown)
17. Crazy Little Thing by Tracy Brogan (Montlake Romance)
18. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead)
19. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts (Putnam)
20. Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James (Vintage)
ith the deal now done, the new executive team of Penguin Random House can begin the process of building a 21st-century publishing company, CEO Markus Dohle told PW in an interview last week from London, where he was on the first leg of a tour to visit the various global offices of PRH. In the short term the priorities for the new company are to deliver “fantastic titles for the fall and holiday season, and to keep innovating,” while a small team will begin the integration of Random House and Penguin, Dohle said. He stressed that given the strong recent performances of both companies, PRH has the ability to move forward “in a thoughtful way.”
While Dohle said he knows there is lots of work to be done, he is confident PRH has the right assets to deliver benefits to authors and readers across the globe. “Continuity will outweigh change,” Dohle said, although he acknowledged that as PRH develops the new company, change will come. The first order of business is getting the publishing house on the same systems and processes, an effort that will begin with separating the old Penguin from Pearson.
Joining Dohle—who is now CEO of Penguin Random House worldwide, as well as CEO of Penguin Random House in the U.S.—in creating the new combined entity is a varied team of newly appointed executives.
John Makinson, formerly Penguin Group chairman, has been named chairman of Penguin Random House.
Coram Williams, formerly CFO of the Penguin Group, will now serve in a dual role as chief financial officer for Penguin Random House in the U.S. and worldwide, and will oversee Random House Studio, the film and TV studio; corporate services; and Penguin Random House’s self-publishing service, Author Solutions.
David Shanks, former CEO of Penguin Group USA, who had already planned to retire at the end of 2013, has stepped down and will now serve as senior executive adviser to Dohle and to the U.S. executive team.
Madeline McIntosh, former COO of Random House U.S., has been appointed president and COO of Penguin Random House U.S., overseeing sales, operations, fulfillment, IT, and digital operations companywide.
Kathy Trager has been named executive v-p and general counsel of Penguin Random House U.S.
Brad Martin, formerly president and CEO of Random House of Canada, is now CEO of Penguin Random House in Canada.
In the U.K., Gail Rebuck has been appointed chair of the Penguin Random House U.K. board and to the Global Penguin Random House board, and she will continue as a member of the Bertelsmann Group Management Committee.
Also in the U.K., Tom Weldon, previously CEO at the Penguin Group U.K., is now CEO for Penguin Random House in the U.K.
Ian Hudson has been named deputy CEO of Penguin Random House U.K., a position he held previously at Random House U.K. In addition, Hudson will also serve as CEO of Penguin Random House International (English-language), overseeing Penguin Random House operations in Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, and Asia.
Gabrielle Coyne, previously CEO of Penguin Group Asia Pacific, has been appointed CEO of Penguin Random House Asia Pacific, and Gaurav Shrinagesh, previously managing director of Random House India, has been named CEO of Penguin Random House India. Both will report to Ian Hudson.
In addition, Nuría Cabutí has been named CEO of the PRH operations in Spain and Latin America, where the company will continue to operate under the name Random House Mondadori. And John Duhigg, CEO of Dorling Kindersley, will be responsible for Dorling Kindersley business worldwide.
Also appointed with global and U.S. responsibilities at Penguin Random House are Frank Steinert, chief human resources officer; Stuart Applebaum, communications; and Milena Alberti, corporate development.
The Magic of Memory
As an author, Neil Gaiman has been prolific but never predictable in a career that spans novels, short stories, comics, screenplays, Doctor Who episodes, and unclassifiable multimedia projects like his recent Blackberry-sponsored A Calendar of Tales, which was inspired by readers tweets. With The Ocean at the End of the Lane—debuting at #3 this week on our Hardcover Fiction list—Gaiman is back with a traditional novel that explores the lines between adulthood and childhood, reality and magic. The 40-something unnamed narrator returns to his childhood home and recalls a strange family named the Hempstocks, and their daughter Lettie—and his own, bewildered seven-year-old self encountering a world of magic. The multiple levels of memory give Gaiman the chance to explore how the way we remember things makes them magic. The theme of the stranger in an enchanted world informs most of Gaiman’s work—Neverwhere, Coraline, and the Newbery Award–winning The Graveyard Book all contain similar themes. But it also recalls Gaiman’s very first sustained work, a 1987 graphic novel called Violent Cases, which reimagined his own childhood encounter with an osteopath who used to work for Al Capone.
Given Gaiman’s huge following, the book’s strong debut is no surprise—nor is the sold-out, multicontinent tour he’s currently engaged in. (This week he appears in Seattle; Santa Rosa, Calif.; and Ann Arbor, Mich.) Gaiman’s next few projects return to multimedia: the picture book Fortunately, the Milk (illus. by Skottie Young in the U.S. edition), a Sandman prequel, and a stint co-writing Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy comic with Brian Michael Bendis.—Heidi MacDonald
Evanovich, Accomplice Work ‘Heist’
Bestselling Janet Evanovich (100 million copies in print is not an unbelievable number) signed an eight-book deal with Random House’s Ballantine Bantam Dell in June 2012, as reported in PW, and there’s little doubt that she’s worth the astronomical paycheck that won her over from St. Martin’s in 2010. The contract was for four more books in the Stephanie Plum series—Plum being the lingerie buyer from Trenton, N.J., who loses her job and becomes a bounty hunter—and four books in a new series written with Lee Goldberg, a bestselling author and a television writer for the series Monk. The debut title in the series with Goldberg, The Heist, hits our Hardcover Fiction list this week at #2 with 35,000 copies for its first week. Evanovich kicked off publication with an appearance on the CBS Early Show and, according to v-p and director of publicity Susan Corcoran, there are more than 500,000 copies in print. Quite a send-off to introduce the team of FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare and con man Nicholas Fox, who, the jacket copy tells us, O’Hare “wants in more ways than one.” —Louisa Ermelino
No Place Like Dome
The King rules again—this time on the tube. CBS reports that the first episode of Stephen King’s Under the Dome miniseries drew a hefty audience of 13.1 million on June 24. According to a New York Times prediction, that number, from preliminary overnight ratings, is likely to grow, especially when delayed viewing is included. The premiere also played well with the audience that counts for many advertisers—viewers between 18 and 49—where it registered a 3.2 rating. That would count as a hit rating any time of year, noted the Times: “in the summer, when networks have a hard time eclipsing a 1 rating in that category, the numbers for Dome represent a breakout performance.”
Entertainment Weekly, too, noted King’s video success, scoring it B and calling the series “the most-watched summer debut on any network since NBC’s The Singing Bee in 2007.” The article also added that Under the Dome “continued the apocalyptic-TV winning streak: AMC’s The Walking Dead, Revolution and now Dome—which isn’t about the end of the whole world, obviously, but tells an apocalypse story on a small-town scale.”
According to the New York Daily News TV critic, “As usual, CBS shows a good eye for action drama, airs of vague mystery and psychological setups that upset the characters’ equilibrium. It’s really just classic drama executed well, and it has propelled CBS to the top of the heap. By those criteria, Under the Dome hits its marks.”
Given the TV series’ acclaim, it’s no surprise that Gallery’s trade paper edition lands on our list in 10th place with 13,869 year-to-date sales. Originally published by Scribner in 2009, Dome’s hardcover and trade paper editions (the first paper version came out in 2010) total a whopping 907,217 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan. —Dick Donahue
For a title that originally pubbed two summers ago, there’s a pretty sizable amount of current activity surrounding the bestselling novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. A trade paperback edition has just been released, with a 175,000-copy first printing; the author, Ransom Riggs, went on a two-week, nine-city tour earlier this month; and the new edition has landed at #2 on our Children’s Fiction list. Miss Peregrine, a YA fantasy illustrated with black-and-white vintage photographs, was described by PW as “an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters.” Nielsen BookScan charts sales for the hardcover version at just under 450,000 copies, and Quirk Books reports total sales across all formats at 1.3 million. On the horizon: a graphic novel edition from Yen Press, due in October; a sequel, Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Children, scheduled for next January; and a film, to be made by Fox (the slightly retitled Peregrine’s Home for Peculiars), which has a July 31, 2015, release date. The movie is bound to get even wider attention for the novel: Tim Burton has just been announced as director. —Diane Roback
Stephen C. Meyer enters the Hardcover Nonfiction list at #10 with his latest book, Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design. As Meyer notes, when Charles Darwin finished writing On the Origin of the Species, there remained a significant and controversial puzzle in his theory of evolution: the “Cambrian Explosion,” which refers to the rapid appearance of animal life 530 million years ago. Darwin acknowledged that this appearance of animal life was confounding, since there was no evidence of similar ancestral forms in earlier geologic history. Meyer, who directs the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, expands upon arguments about the origin of life in his previous book, Signature in the Cell, to suggest that the Cambrian animal forms might have arisen from intelligent design. According to the theory of Intelligent Design (, certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, rather than undirected processes such as natural selection. To launch the book, Meyer has appeared on numerous radio shows, including Moody Radio’s In the Market with Janet Parshall, several programs on Salem Radio, DialGlobal Radio’s Denis Miller Show, and Premiere Radio’s Coast to Coast. The book has also been excerpted online in World magazine. —Jessamine Chan
Commentary from the mind of the artist
A Story Begins