Publishing Numbers

Michael Orthofer passes along the news that Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty is now Harvard University Press’s best-selling title ever, in terms of first-year sales (kinda amazing, since it’s not even been in release for two months), with some 80,000 copies.

That all is great, but now turn to the Pulitzers. The fiction winner, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt saw its sales double thanks to the prize:

According to Nielsen BookScan, the book sold 15,079 copies last week, compared to 7,095 the week before the Pulitzer win. . . . Publisher Little, Brown reported that total Goldfinch sales — print and digital combined — are nearing 1.5 million and that it has gone back to press for another 150,000 copies.

The poetry winner, 3 Sections by Vijay Seshadr, also got a boost, and here we see the yawning chasm between fiction and poetry:

3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri, the 2014 poetry winner, went from 11 copies to 81 copies (353 copies sold to date).


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To be fair, Donna Tartt is a giant in American literature.

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