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Monday 17 April 2000


Publishers Weekly's 1999 Bestsellers

The April 10th issue of Publishers Weekly has extensive lists of the bestselling books of 1999, which are notable in part for tallying actual sales figures -- number of copies sold -- rather than simply ranking books in relative order as on most weekly bestseller lists.

PW ranks children's books separately from its hardcover and paperback lists, or it would be apparent that J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books outsold everything else. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban tops the Children's hardcover frontlist (books published in 1999) with 3.6 million copies sold. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is second with 3.4 million, while Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone leads the hardcover backlist (books first published before 1999) with 3.1 million sold. (The paperback of the last title led the Paperback Frontlist with 3.2 million sold.)

By comparison, the leading Hardcover Fiction bestsellers of 1999 were John Grisham's The Testament, with 2.5 million copies sold, followed by Thomas Harris's Hannibal (Delacorte), 1.5 million sold.

Five of the top 15 hardcover fiction titles were SF, fantasy, or horror -- 7 if you include two ''Left Behind'' books by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye -- and all of these ranked in the top 10. Terry Brooks' movie tie-in Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (Del Rey/Lucasbooks) was #4 with 1.4 million; Michael Crichtonís Timeline (Knopf) made #5 with 1.35 million sold. Stephen King's Hearts in Atlantis (Scribner) was #6 (1.3 million) and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (also Scribner) #8, with just over 1 million. Only one other genre book placed in the top 30, False Memory by Dean Koontz (Bantam) at #28, with sales of 425,000.

Other genre titles that sold significantly in hardcover were Vittorio by Anne Rice (Knopf), with sales of over 300,000; and Robin Cookís Vector (Putnam) and Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Vector Prime by R.A. Salvatore (Del Rey/Lucasbooks), over 200,000 sold. The 150,000+ sales included Dune: House Atreides by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson (Bantam), and Soul of the Fire by Terry Goodkind (Tor). Among 100,000+ sales were The Right Hand of Evil by John Saul (Ballantine), Enderís Shadow by Orson Scott Card (Tor), and Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (Avon).

(A more extensive summary, including trade and mass-market paperbacks, will appear in the May 2000 Locus.)

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