Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I am not a book psychic

I was wrong, oh so wrong...

... as Patsy Cline so memorably sang.

When I wrote a little preview piece back in January about two upcoming personal finance books, I went out on a limb and guessed that Loral Langemeier's The Millionaire Maker might outsell Phil Town's Rule #1. Well, that kind of gut instinct may be why I don't have Jane Friedman or Sonny Mehta's job. (Yet.) Rule #1 has already sold more than twice as many copies and it's only been out half as long. I think The Millionaire Maker might have briefly appeared on the NY Times extended list, but Rule #1 is in the top 5 which appear in the printed version of the paper.

Most personal finance books are considered "Advice/How-to," so they have to fight a lot harder to get one of those 5 spots that you see in the printed Book Review. An extended list with 10 more slots appears online, and publishers get it in advance via email (to encourage them to buy ads). But the Non-Fiction list has 15 slots in the printed version of the paper, and 15 more in the online extended list. Lee Eisenberg's The Number was considered non-fiction rather than advice, so that hit the printed list at #13 on Jan. 29th, even though it was outsold by Jim Cramer's Real Money, which was on the extended online Advice list at #7. It hovered around that position for a while but never made the printed list, I'm pretty sure, even though it sold well over 200,000 copies at retailers last year, leaving The Number in the dust.

Well, these are the little things that keep publishers from sleeping at night. And don't even get us started on Amazon rankings...

2 comments:

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