There are thousands of new books available on any given day. And every one of them gets read, even if it’s only by the author’s mother. Some books make the best-seller lists and still aren’t read by as many people as you might think. That’s because the lists’ rankings depend on orders by bookstores, not necessarily sales and certainly not on remainder figures.
Even when it’s reported that a certain book sold hundreds of thousands in one day, you have to take it with a grain of salt. But those kinds of reports can tell you what people are reading and what publishers and booksellers think will be big sellers.
The recent release of Christopher Paolini’s YA novel, Brisingr, reportedly sold 550,000 copies in its first day of release, making it the biggest one-day seller for Random House. The Guardian reported Brisingr sold 45,000 its first day on sale in the UK and 30,000 copies sold in 48 hours in Australia.
While that’s a record for Random House, it’s not a record for sales overall. Stephenie Meyer’s recent release, Breaking Dawn, sold 1.3 million copies it its first day, 20,000 in the UK. But topping them both was JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, with 8.3 million copies in one day. (It seemed odd to me that the Guardian reported that Rowling’s book sold only 2.6 million the first day in the UK.)
One thing to ponder about Paolini’s book, the third in his series, is that he wrote the first one when he was only 15.
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