Will the Booker Sell Here?

That question is already partially answered; Wolf Hall is now outranking The Lost Symbol on Amazon.

At this moment, the Booker winner is #2 on Amazon’s sales rankings. At #1 is Sarah Palin’s forthcoming memoir, Going Rogue (HarperCollins, 11/15), with The Lost Symbol at #3. Overall sales, obviously, are another story, since Amazon’s rankings are a snapshot of hourly sales.

In four large libraries, the total number of reserves has more than doubled since before yesterday’s announcement, going from 194 to 482.

The Times of London noted that the prize was originally set up to sell books. The prize’s director Ion Trewin, who accepted the position in 2004, but didn’t take over completely until 2006, told the Times that it was meant “not only to reward superb fiction but to encourage people to go out and read it.”

Last year’s winner, The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, achieved that goal in both the UK and the US, where it was on the NYT paperback  list for 11 weeks, rising to #8, and continues on the extended list after 38 more weeks.

In London, booksellers expect Wolf Hall to outsell all previous Booker winners. Here, however, many wonder if Americans will sit still for a 650-page book that requires deep interest in Tudor history.

If you’re looking for a good, quick description of the book to give customers, you won’t do much better than Carolyn Kellogg‘s in the L.A. Times,

…a minutely researched yet sweeping historical novel of the Tudor period. Told from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, the book follows the courtly machinations that keep Henry VIII in power as he breaks with Rome to marry Anne Boleyn.

And, if you have a little more time, you can add,

In Mantel’s telling, historical tropes get a freshening-up. Cromwell is more bureaucrat than revolutionary, Sir Thomas More is not the heroic man of faith as we’ve come to know, and Henry VIII is not the virile sex fiend of the Tudors.

2 Responses to “Will the Booker Sell Here?”

  1. Sarah Says:

    I was thinking that the Tudors were so “dead”, especially as Philippa Gregory is leading the way back to the Wars of the Roses (and the beginnings of the Tudor Dynasty) in THE WHITE QUEEN, but evidently they aren’t – authors are writing about subjects other than the actual Tudors as main characters. There’s also a new biography on Thomas Cromwell. War, sex, death, religion – who knew?

  2. Book Group Buzz - Discussion of Book Clubs, Reading Lists, and Literary News - Booklist Online » Blog Archive » Will Book Groups Like the Winners? Says:

    […] a tough sell. On the other hand, shortly after the Booker announcement Nora Rawlinson reported on Early Word that Wolf Hall was #2 on Amazon sales rankings and that library reserves had more than […]