Thursday, December 18, 2003

The Drudge Report confirms what Publishers Lunch reported a couple of days ago -- Bill O'Reilly was talking utter nonsense when he said to Matt Lauer on the Today show, "We're running against Hillary for most copies of non-fiction books sold this year." Drudge has the list of nonfiction bestsellers, as determined by Nielsen's BookScan service:

1. South Beach Diet, Agatston: 2,304,608 [units scanned]

2. Purpose Driven Life, Warren: 1,507,902

3. Living History, Clinton: 1,084,520

4. Ultimate Weight Solution: McGraw: 836,043

5. Lies and The Lying Liars Who Tell Them, Franken: 674,024

6. Who's Looking Out for You?, O'Reilly: 430,407

O'Reilly may catch up to Al Franken a bit -- Who's Looking Out for You? is #1 on the new New York Times list that was released last night (Lies is #3) -- but Franken is still well ahead for the year.

(UPDATE: Sadly, No! reminds us that, back in June, Rush Limbaugh claimed a Simon & Schuster "insider" insisted that S&S couldn't even successfully warehouse a million copies of Hillary Clinton's book -- "Where would we put a million books?" -- which is utter balderdash, because S&S has had to do just that a number of times in recent years for books by Stephen King, and had to do that a decade or so ago for the second book by Limbaugh himself, which had a seven-figure first printing. Note that the BookScan data show sales of more than a mil for Hill -- and remember that not all the stores in America report sales data to BookScan (in 2002, Salon gave the number as 70% of stores), so you can probably add 100,000 or 200,000 more to those Living History sales numbers.)

(FURTHER UPDATE: Publishers Lunch says the BookScan figures quoted by Drudge were "updated yesterday." So I really don't think O'Reilly's going to pass Franken at the end-of-the-year wire -- much less Hillary or South Beach.)

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