Journalist and novelist Ward Just, 84, died Thursday of Lewy body dementia. His novel Echo House was a National Book Award finalist and his novel An Unfinished Season was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2005.
Romance novelist Johanna Lindsey, 67, died on October 27 in Nashua, NH. She wrote almost 60 novels that sold more than 60 million copies.
PW named author Dav Pilkey as its “person of the year,” writing that “with sales of his Dog Man series skyrocketing in 2019, Pilkey is doing more to excite kids about reading than any author since J.K. Rowling.”
The bestselling novel of 2019 in print is the breakout novel from 2018: Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens. The NYT looks at how “its success has upended Ms. Owens’s own solitary existence.” Penguin Random House president of sales Jaci Updike says, “I’ve never seen anything like this in 30 years. This book has broken all the friggin’ rules. We like to have a comparison title so that we can do sales forecasts, but in this case none of the comparisons work.”
The book has sold a reported 4.5 million units (including 1.924 million hardcovers of the main edition, according to NPD Bookscan — which suggests audio sales of well over 1 million units, too). It’s not true that “publishing has become a winner-take-all business, with a handful of blockbusters commanding all the attention and sales, so surprise breakout hits have become increasingly rare.” The 10 bestselling print books of the decade were essentially all surprise breakout titles or authors.
Unwrap Some PM
Did you really want some PublishersMarketplace.com for yourself or to share with a friend this holiday? For a very limited time, use the discount code FORME on our registration page and you can enjoy the first month at our site for the ridiculous price of just $10.