The Ten Most *Sold* Books in the World

September 28, 2012 § 4 Comments

While I object to the misleading title of this infographic (as well as some other specifics), I still think it’s pretty interesting and worth sharing.

To elaborate on what I find objectionable: just because a book has more copies sold, does not necessarily mean more people have read those books. For example, it’s not unusual for a family to own multiple copies of the Bible, while ever member of a family might not have a personal copy of Gone With the Wind, even if they’ve all read it. That could also skew up the perceived readership of books like Harry Potter where some families bought two copies (or more) of the book so they could read it at the same time.
On which subject, what book are they evaluating when they say “Harry Potter” or “The Lord of the Rings” or “The Twilight Saga”? Does it count total sales for the series? If so, a book like The Alchemist would be more read than any single Harry Potter book (as 400 million divided amongst seven books is only [pssh, “only”] 57 million books apiece).

I could go on, but you get the point. All that said, I still think it’s interesting to see. The Alchemist has moved way up my “to read” list.

As an aside, Hello! It’s been a long time and I’m rather happy to be back. The break was necessary for me as I was reassessing priorities in life. Blogging time was coming directly out of my writing time which, once I stepped back and got a little perspective, didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new season of blogging for me–assuming I can strike a better balance with it– so check in again sometime relatively soon. As always, thanks for stopping by!

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When packaging kills plot points

April 3, 2012 § 8 Comments

Possibly my greatest fear about getting a book published is that a story that I’ve worked for months or years on will get saddled with a cover like this. Now I understand that there are marketing folks at publishing companies that try their darnedest to sell your book and if they choose a cover like this it’s (hopefully) because they think that cover will convince more people to read that book than one with cover art that I might choose. But it’s not a cover that would make a book leap of the shelf into my hands, and I’d be a little self-conscious recommending it to friends and family. I understand that everyone has different tastes and maybe bare-chested heroes (with shaved armpits) on the covers of books appeal to some people, even if they don’t to me. That said, there is one kind of book cover that drives me bananas:

When the packaging or promotion materials ruin plot points of a book (or movie, or story of any kind).

I’m the kind of guy who avoids reading the backs of books and won’t watch trailers for movies that I’m excited to see. I go out of my way to avoid knowing anything about the stories I’m about to read, watch, or otherwise experience, so I find it rather frustrating when my efforts are thwarted by the people at publishing companies. « Read the rest of this entry »

What The Hunger Games reminds us about marketing to readers

March 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

Last Thursday I read an article on adage.com entitled “Why ‘The Hunger Games’ Won’t Make $100 Million Its Opening Weekend.” It compared The Hunger Games to other movies like it–primarily Twilight: Breaking Dawn and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince–to estimate how many people would be going to The Hunger Games opening weekend. In a nutshell they tried to establish a “true reach” for Hunger Games marketing materials by looking at how many times trailers, interviews, etc. had been viewed as compared to other films with similar demographics and marketing strategies as of ten days before release.

For example, 10 days to release, the original “Twilight” film had generated 98.5 million views. It went on to bring $69.6 million at the box office its opening weekend. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” had driven more than 136.2 million views 10 days to its release. It saw $77.8 million at the box office.

Ten days to release, “The Hunger Games” had produced 89.4 million views, putting it significantly behind those films.

Ad Age basically predicted, according to this type of reasoning, that The Hunger Games would bring in around $80 million its opening weekend.

Well, if you haven’t heard, The Hunger Games « Read the rest of this entry »

2 things the Hunger Games film reminds us about the book industry

March 23, 2012 § 9 Comments

It’s not a big secret that I’m pretty conflicted about books that are made into movies, even (and sometimes especially) if the movies turn out good. That said, it’s been incredibly encouraging to see all the hubbub created by the release of the first Hunger Games movie. I’ve talked to dozens of people who would never have heard of the book if it weren’t for the movie, many of them who were reading it to see what the commotion is all about. Even better–“something better than getting people reading?!” you ask–yes, even better is that it’s getting people talking about the themes of the book, like privileged people taking what they have for granted and turning a blind eye to the suffering of others, and being used by non-profits as an opportunity to raise awareness about world hunger.

And I have to admit that it would be dishonest of me to say that I haven’t been stoked to see it.

So rather than get down about the fact that many times more people are going to see the movie than will ever read the book, I’m looking at the positive. « Read the rest of this entry »

“Borrowing” from other books: how much is too much?

November 11, 2011 § 15 Comments

I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while, and with the publishing of the last Eragon book and the recall of Assassins of Secrets this week after accusations of plagiarism, I didn’t see any reason to wait any longer.

If you haven’t heard the news, Assassins of Secrets, a spy thriller “by” (I use that term loosely here) Q.R. Markham, was due to be released Thursday and had received very positive reviews, but after it came to light that dozens of passages in the book were pulled word for word from a wide variety of spy novels, old and new, it was pulled from the shelves. Now the bestselling Inheritance Cycle, of which the first is Eragon, doesn’t do anything remotely as egregious as dear Mr. Markham, but still, the most common complaint I hear leveled against the series is its unoriginality. « Read the rest of this entry »

Why I hate (even good) movies based on books

September 28, 2011 § 456 Comments

Yesterday I heard the news that the classic Roald Dahl book, The BFG (big, friendly giant) is being adapted for the big screen. Every time I hear about another one of my favorite books going to film I can’t help but cringe.  I think of adaptations of books like Michael Crichton’s Timeline, which I had to turn off halfway through (something that I have only done a handful of times in my life); or Eragon, which was too terrible for words, cutting so many corners in the story that they ended up with a circle; and I live in constant fear « Read the rest of this entry »

My Hobby: Reading 1-Star Reviews for My Favorite Books

September 25, 2011 § 22 Comments

You can’t make everyone happy.  That’s something I’m trying to teach myself before I find my own work anonymously reviewed.  Reading 1-star reviews for my favorite books started out as a way to emphasize to myself that it’s impossible to please everyone, but it has evolved into so much more than that.  I just think these are hilarious and an endless source of amusement.  Here are some of my favorites.  If you find some great 1-star reviews of your own, share them in the comments.

Harry Potter

“It is all about Harry…Harry walked down the hall…Harry saw the troll…Harry this, and Harry that. What about that Draco kid? Why doesn’t the author ever put anything in his perspective?”

And while we’re on the subject, why don’t we ever get to see the world from Voldemort’s point of view?  And where is Sauron’s perspective in Lord of the Rings?  Or Darth Vaders?  Oh right.

“Another large cliche that is found in the reading is how the plot is formatted. The storyline goes as follows: Exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. It never changes.”

The ultimate cliche because every story uses it, and not just in books.  But come on J. K., how about a little originality?  Don’t worry though, all those other stories just get one star too.

« Read the rest of this entry »

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