Which is better, the book or the movie? That question takes on new intensity with the opening today of World War Z, starring Brad Pitt and based on the long-running best seller by Max Brooks. The author himself has said that the only thing the movie shares with book is the title, since it completely abandons the beloved faux-oral history style of the novel.
- Disappointed fans can console themselves with a new audio version, released as a movie tie-in, but much more true to the book. Five hours longer than the original 2006 edition, it is titled World War Z: The Complete Edition and features dozens of new narrators, including director Martin Scorsese, Spiderman star Alfred Molina, TheWalking Dead creator Frank Darabont, rapper Common, Firefly star Nathan Fillion, and Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg, with Brooks serving as The Interviewer as he did in the first audio edition (more details are on the author’s web site).
USA Todaycalls it a “suspenseful tale of triumph” about a rowing crew from the University of Washington, whose student body, “drew from rough-hewn loggers, farm boys and girls not only with great physical gifts but the enormous will to make something of themselves at a time when there was little hope, given the double whammy of the Depression and the Dust Bowl.”
The strategy of introducing a new author in less-expensive trade paperback, rather than hardcover, has paid off for the Maggie Hope series about a British code breaker in WW II. The third novel, His Majesty’s Hope, (RH/Bantam; BOT Audio) hits the NYT best seller list at #18 (tied with #17) this week.
We’ve been following some of the changes to best seller lists brought about by e-books; backlist titles making their debuts as a result of Amazon discounts, titles appearing before print publication, and erotic fiction making inroads.
A new twist arrives this week; Until I Break, an erotic fiction title by Michelle Leighton debuts on the 6/2 NYT E-Book Only list at #13. That should be cause for celebration for any author, but in this case, Leighton has already withdrawn the book from publication.
We’ve seen Amazon discounts affect best seller lists before, but never this dramatically. The number one title on the 6/2 NYT Nonfiction E-Book Only best seller list (also #7 on the Combined list) is The Eighty-Dollar Champion, by Elizabeth Letts (Random House). Published in hardcover August, 2011, it was on that list for 2 weeks, hitting a high of #10. After it was released in e-book last year, it appeared on list for 4 weeks.
The sales jump is likely due to Amazon, which recently discounted the e-book edition to $1.99.
Olympic gold medal soccer player Alex Morgan, currently playing for the Portland Thorns, scores with the first book in a planned middle grade series, The Kicks. Book one, Saving the Team (S&S Young Readers), debuts on the NYT Middle Grade Best Seller list at #7 during its in its first week on sale.
The second book in the series, Sabotage Season will be published in September. A third one is in the works.
The author, who died in 2010, was not able to enjoy her book’s belated success. Sourcebooks will release another of her historical novels, Master of All Desires, in July. Her books are available from library e-book vendors.
This is the first time since the NYT began publishing separate ebook best seller lists in February of 2011 that a self-pubbed title has topped the combined list (Wait For You by J. Lynn and Hopeless by Colleen Hoover both hit #1 on the ebook only list, but didn’t break through on the combined list, where they appeared at #2. Both authors subsequently signed with traditional publishers. Fifty Shades of Grey did not appear on the NYT lists until after it was picked up by Random House).
A total of three self-published titles are on the current combined list of fifteen, two of them in the top ten, an evolving shift from the first lists, which had none.
Idaho author Van Dyken has published several historical romances with Astraea Press. She tells Forbes in an interview that Astraea was uncomfortable with The Bet because it falls into the “New Adult/Contemp” category and it “only does sweet romance,” so she decided to self-publish through Amazon’s CreateSpace.
While many of the author’s previous e-books are available via OverDrive, this one is not. It is also published in mass market paperback (ISBN: 978-1483918778), but it is not currently listed on wholesaler databases.
The eighth novel by British author Kate Atkinson, Life After Life, (Hachette/Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print), debuts on this week’s NYT Hardcover Fiction Best Seller list at #3, the highest spot yet for the author. Her previous novel, Started Early, Took My Dog (2011) hit the extended list when it was published.
It has been reviewed widely in the U.S., including an early review by Janet Maslin in the daily New York Times, which states, “Life After Lifeis a big book that defies logic, chronology and even history in ways that underscore its author’s fully untethered imagination.” It is an IndieNext #1 pick for April and was much buzzed about by librarians on GalleyChat.
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, (Macmillan/Roaring Brook), the perfect title for spring, debuts at #9 even though it has been out for a year. EarlyWord Kids contributor Lisa Von Drasek included it in her annual list of “Best Books To Give Younger Kids You Don’t Know Very Well.” The book’s trailer shows off its clever cut-outs:
On this week’s USA Today best seller list, Sheryl Sandberg’s “sort of feminist” manifesto, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; BOT) is #1 in its second week on the list, after debuting at #133 last week.
That may not be much of a surprise, given the amount of attention it has received. The surprise is that it’s one of the few hardcovers on the list. By contrast, the latest Alex Cross title by James Patterson is at #3, but in ebook. Of the top 50 USA Today bestsellers, 27 are ebooks, 18 paperbacks and just 8 hardcovers.
After a slow start, many libraries are showing heavy holds on all formats of Lean In.
Dr. Ben Carson has become the “New Conservative Folk Hero,” declares Atlantic magazine, since he confronted President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, a venue that isn’t known for making news (see below; as the Atlantic advises, “Things don’t get interesting for a while, so you might want to skip to about halfway through”).
The soon-to-retire head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital has even been called on to run for President in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.
His latest book, America the Beautiful, published last year and now available in paperback (HarperCollins/Zondervan), has been in the top ten on Amazon for the last two weeks, rising as high as #1 and appears on the March 3 NYT Paperback Non-fiction Best Seller list at #12. Libraries are showing heavy holds.