From Publisher’s Weekly
by Gabe Habash – 04 January 2013
The Bestselling books of 2012
Half of the top 20 bestselling books of 2012 in print were either Fifty Shades titles or Hunger Games titles, and only one book not written by E.L. James or Suzanne Collins—Jeff Kinney’s latest Wimpy Kid title—cracked the one-million-copies-sold mark for the year, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks 75%-80% of print sales. Authors with multiple bestselling books extended past James and Collins, too: for print, Kinney and Bill O’Reilly had two books each in the top 20; for e-books, George R.R. Martin and Sylvia Day had two books in the Amazon Kindle top 20, further proving readers’ preference for fiction when reading electronically (No Easy Day was the only nonfiction book to make Kindle’s top 20).
What this means is that, in 2012, books not part of a successful series or brand had a much tougher time, at least at the very top of the bestseller lists. Even books from bestselling authors did not do as well as books from bestselling series, as Fifty Shades and the Hunger Games topped big-name authors like John Grisham and James Patterson, the latter not appearing on any top 20 list. One book that bucked that trend was Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, which crossed 700,000 copies sold on BookScan just before the year ended. Flynn sold over 100,000 more copies than J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, and was only a few thousand copies behind Rick Riordan’s The Mark of Athena, to make her book the #14 bestselling print book of 2012. The discrepancies between Nielsen’s top 20 and Amazon’s top 20 (both print and Kindle) remained consistent with PW’s 2012 midpoint analysis of book sales: reference and self-help books see a huge percentage of their sales from Amazon. The Official SAT Study Guide, StrengthsFinder 2.0, and the American Psychological Association’s official manual cracked Amazon’s print top 20, but did not make BookScan’s top 20. Another Amazon anomaly is Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, which snuck into the top 20 for print, despite being first published in 2010.
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