Tuesday, March 23, 2010

PW Announces 2009 Bestsellers

From Publishers Weekly comes its list of the bestsellers of 2009:
Hardcover Fiction Sales, 2009

1. The Lost Symbol: A Novel. Dan Brown. Doubleday (5,543,643).
2. *The Associate: A Novel. John Grisham. Doubleday.
3. The Help. Kathryn Stockett. Putnam/Amy Einhorn (1,104,617).
4. I, Alex Cross. James Patterson. Little, Brown (1,040,976).
5. *Ford County. John Grisham. Doubleday.
6. Finger Lickin' Fifteen. Janet Evanovich. St. Martin's (977,178).
7. The Host: A Novel. Stephenie Meyer. Little, Brown (912,165).
8. *Under the Dome. Stephen King. Scribner
9. Pirate Latitudes. Michael Crichton. Harper (855,638).
10. Scarpetta. Patricia Cornwell. Putnam (800,000).

Hardcover Nonfiction Sales, 2009

1. Going Rogue: An American Life. Sarah Palin. Harper (2,674,684).
2. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment. Steve Harvey. Harper (1,735,219).
3. *Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government. Glenn Beck. Threshold.
4. *Liberty & Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto. Mark R. Levin..
5. True Compass: A Memoir. Edward M. Kennedy. Twelve (870,402).
6. Have a Little Faith: A True Story. Mitch Albom. Hyperion (855,843).
7. It's Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God's Favor. Joel Osteen. Free Press.
8. The Last Lecture. Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow. Hyperion (610,033).
9. Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books Not Bombs. Greg Mortenson. Viking (515,566).
10. Superfreakonomics. Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. William Morrow (487,977).

According to the PW article, e-book sales were not included in these sales figures, so actual total sales might be considerably higher than the numbers shown here. Also, some publishers release sales figures on a confidential basis for ranking purposes only - as you will notice.

I'm a little surprised how far the number one book in both categories is ahead of the rest of the pack, but I'm not real surprised at the two lead titles themselves. I see that I haven't read any of the Fiction Top 10 bestsellers and I doubt seriously that I ever will (just seeing Dan Brown and James Patterson books in the top four fiction bestsellers embarrasses me for this country's reading taste). Of the Nonfiction Top 10, I've read only two.


  1. I agree that this list is pretty weak.

    Having said that.....if you do not read Grisham's FORD COUNTY, you are missing a really good book!

    How about this "disclaimer"..... hmmmmm An asterisk denotes a title whose sales figures were provided in confidence, to be used for ranking purposes only.

  2. I don't want to hate these lists. I don't want to be a snob. But Lord help me, I hate those lists. Really, really hate those lists.

  3. I agree with you that the "Top Ten" lists for fiction are generally lists of books to avoid. However, I have read "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett and loved the book. (It is the only one of the "Top Ten" that I've read. I don't even look at books by the other authors!)

    My book club discussed "The Help" this month and it was one of the rare books that received a "10" rating from all but one of us!

  4. I also liked THE HELP despite its flaws (all black women were good, most white women were bad) and I hate reading dialect. And why only black dialect? All southerners speak in dialect!

    I never read Grisham, but FORD COUNTY was so different. Hardly a lawyer or trial in sight and good writing.

  5. I'm glad to see Going Rogue on the list. I really liked it!


  6. Jo Ann, I agree that Grisham's "non-thrillers" are pretty good books. I dislike his legal thrillers and don't fool with them anymore, but I've enjoyed several of his other books.

  7. John, you know, it's hard not to be a snob when you see these lists. It just comes naturally and I can't help myself anymore. :-)

  8. I don't know "The Help," y'all...sounds like I should at least take a look at it to see if it's something I want to read.

  9. Judylynn, I haven't read the Palin book and probably won't do so at this point. I have very mixed emotions about her and I'm not ready to spend that much time in her head right now. The book's success doesn't surprise me because her supporters feel very, very strongly about her.