Thursday, June 19, 2008 Creates a Phenom

Chances are you’ve already heard of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, the debut novel by David Wroblewski about a mute boy and his dog. This 566-page literary novel by a 48-year-old Wisconsin native is not a typical summer blockbuster, but Sawtelle is already in its seventh printing (a total of 90,000 copies), and it’s only been nine days since the book’s publication.

Favorable reviews play a part in this early success, including a cover story in the Washington Post's Book World, but is the real driving force behind Sawtelle’s early sales. Amazon chose the book as one of the best books of June and posted a long blurb from Stephen King touting the book. Amazon also sold the book at a 40% discount on its home page for two weeks before publication and posted an essay by the author.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Sessalee Hensley, fiction buyer at Barnes & Nobel, speaking about Sawtelle: "It's doing fabulously well and we've already reordered. I haven't had to reorder many books this spring and summer but this is an immediate hit." Last week, Costco boosted its order to 18,000 copies from 3,000. Lee Boudreaux, the book’s editor, commented to the WSJ: "This just doesn't happen. From the get-go we positioned this as a book to take very seriously, but nobody expected 90,000 copies in print after a week."

I’m feeling pretty good about snagging a signed first edition of Sawtelle though my Indiespensable subscription. Now I just need to find the time to read it.

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