Knopf has been positioning Jo Nesbo‘s THE SNOWMAN as its big summer thriller breakout, and they report selling 20,000 total copies so far of the May 10 release – with digital making up as much as 65 percent, at 13,000 units sold. Since every media outlet under the sun has wondered whether Nesbo is “the next Stieg Larsson,” it’s worth noting that THE SNOWMAN exceeded sales of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by 2,000 units during the same time frame.
“The Larsson comp is significant because it demonstrates how much shift there has been in our business in under 3 years,” said Knopf spokesman Paul Bogaards, who adds that SNOWMAN sales have risen the last two days. Earlier Nesbo titles appear to be benefiting as well, though a spokesperson from HarperCollins did not return our queries for further information.
Philip Roth has won the 2011 Man International Booker Prize, with chair Rick Gekoski praising his “astonishing achievement” in today’s announcement: “His imagination has not only recast our idea of Jewish identity, it has also reanimated fiction, and not just American fiction, generally.”
As it turns out, Roth’s win was due to only two of the judges, Gekoski and novelist Justin Cartwright. Virago founder Carmen Callil was evidently so incensed by the news she resigned from the panel, telling the Guardian “he goes on and on and on about the same subject in almost every single book. It’s as though he’s sitting on your face and you can’t breathe”.
Callil said she will explain Roth’s apparent lack of worthiness further in an essay to run in this Saturday’s Guardian Review, but today’s comments seem to sum her feelings up: “I don’t rate him as a writer at all. I made it clear that I wouldn’t have put him on the longlist, so I was amazed when he stayed there. He was the only one I didn’t admire – all the others were fine.”
Man Booker International Prize announcement
Minnesota congresswoman and potential Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is reportedly shopping a book. POLITICO reports her agent Alex Hoyt will be in New York this week to meet with publishers.
The WSJ follows up on yesterday’s deal news that John Irving would publish his next two novels with Simon & Schuster after more than 15 years with Random House. The reason, it turns out, has to do with the global marketplace: “I might not have looked at Random House with a slightly critical eye if I had seen my titles decline in foreign territories, but they’ve done as well or better as previous titles,” Irving explained. “Only in the U.S. have my titles taken a hit.” WSJ
Speaking of Random House, its former editor-in-chief Daniel Menaker will publish a memoir next year, and shared edited versions of eight of the rejection notices he received for it in the Huffington Post.