Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It’s Really Difficult to Sell Literary Fiction

How well are the titles on the Booker Prize long list selling? According to the Bookseller.com, not very well, apparently. Here are the sales figures to date:

1. The Enchantress of Florence 15,433
2. Child 44 8,278
3. Sea of Poppies 5,034
4. Netherland 4,023
5. The Clothes on Their Backs 3,592
6. The White Tiger 1,852
7. The Secret Scripture 1,568
8. A Case of Exploding Mangoes 1,000
9. The Northern Clemency 916
10. A Fraction of the Whole 392
11. The Lost Dog 363

Both Gaynor Arnold's Girl in a Blue Dress (Tindal Street) and John Berger's From A to X are not yet published.

I’m particularly shocked that Rushdie’s latest has sold fewer than 16,000 copies. If Rushdie can’t do better, is there any hope for less well-known authors of literary fiction? These numbers are so low that I almost question their accuracy.

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