Wednesday, March 26, 2008

An Astonishing Fact

There is a fantasy novel that has sold over two million copies in one trade paperback edition since that edition was published in late 2000. (Not to mention several hundred thousand in a different trade paperback edition, over a hundred thousand in mass market, and tens of thousands in hardcover; pretty much all of those this decade -- and all numbers are purely US sales.)

It is not by J.K. Rowling, and it was published as an adult title. The author is still alive and writing. (And I was just struck by its sales patterns while looking some things up on BookScan this morning.)

I wonder if anyone out there knows what book this is?


Balerion said...

Good job for whoever it is.

I'm going to guess it's not someone traditionally considered a really big name in the fantasy field, like Robert Jordan, but I wouldn't hazard anything beyond that.

Livia Llewellyn said...


Of course, it helps that I also have access to BookScan - provided by the same company you work for, in fact... :D

Anonymous said...

Paulo Coelho, I'm guessing.

ianrandalstrock said...

OK, I'll guess Dan Brown, The DaVinci Code.

I'm pretty sure I'm wrong, but I'm curious what the answer is. And I agree with balerion: it's probably not a book that we sf/f geeks would have considered fantasy at all.

Andrew Wheeler said...

Livia is right; it's Wicked by Gregory Maguire. (The musical tie-in cover is the one that's sold a bajilion copies; the non-tie-in cover merely a whole lot.)

And of course it would be someone who sits forty feet away from me who gets the answer first!

Anonymous: Not a bad guess, but, from what I can see, the top-selling Coelho edition is only about one million copies in the US. (Though I'd bet that he's sold several times as many as Maguire worldwide; he's huge in a whole bunch of countries.)

Andrew Wheeler said...

Ian: The Da Vinci Code has sold well over eight million in hardcover, which means Dan Brown is in no financial distress even though he's slow turning in the next book. (And he's got five other editions at a million or more each.)

Is Da Vinci Code fantasy, though? I haven't read it, and I don't know if it has any explicitly supernatural elements.

ianrandalstrock said...

I don't think Da Vinci Code was published as fantasy, but from all the hype I heard, I can't really categorize it as anything else. Leonardo Da Vinci was painting codes into his work, so that we'd all realize that Jesus had a kid? Sounds fantastical to me.

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