The Flux Capacitor Effect, How Old Books Become New Best Sellers

War Brides by Helen Bryan

Some interesting reads are on Publishers’ Weekly site if you’re into book stats for 2012 — what sold and why in print.

For instance, last year print sales were dominated by Romance. Romance jumped +35%, while Biography/Autobiography epic failed -26%, as did Sci Fi -21%, Business  -18%, Mystery  -11%, Cooking -3%, History -7%, Audio -7%, Children -2%.

Upshot, romance sells, particularly in hard times, and hard “romance,” like 50 Shades books, really sells.

The Romance category was also one of the most monopolized —- the top 10 romance bestsellers had only 4 different authors (E.L. James, Sylvia Day, Nora Roberts, and Nicholas Sparks) from only 3 different publishers (Vintage, Berkley, and Grand Central). Only one other adult category, Religion, saw any increase at all in 2012 —- and that only increased 1% for the year.

The really interesting stuff however is over in the Best Selling Books of 2012 Top of The Charts.

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.

However, Amazon’s Top 20 Print Titles reveals a larger trend evident in the bestseller lists — that just because a book is a bestseller in 2012 doesn’t mean it was published in 2012.

Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, was in Amazon’s top 20 for print, despite being first published in 2010.

In fact, eight of BookScan’s top 20 books in 2012 were published before 2012, including Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, which was published in 2004, and E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey (which came out first as a Kindle and Print on Demand title in May of 2011). Another non-2012 release, Stephen King’s 11/22/63, finished as Kindle’s #19 bestseller of the year, thanks in part to its discounted $3.99 price tag. But for Kindle, there was no bigger success story than Helen Bryan’s War Brides, which was first published in 2007 and rereleased by AmazonEncore (Amazon’s paperback division) in June 2012, needing just over six months to become the #14 Kindle bestseller of 2012.

So just because your book didn’t fly off the shelves the year you published it, doesn’t mean it won’t ever make the bestseller list!

Jesus Calling

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