Thursday, January 10, 2008
What do James Patterson and Dale Earnhardt have in common?
I ran across an interesting statistic recently, while reading an article in USA Today about James Patterson, the author of Step on a Crack. My jaw nearly dropped when I read that if Patterson were treated as a publishing house unto himself, he’d be tied for fourth for most number-one bestsellers in 2006—ahead of all of HarperCollins, a major publisher.
Huh? I decided to investigate further. The statistic came from an industry e-newsletter called Publishers Lunch, which we here at Select Editions enjoy for its up-to-the-minute news, thoughtful insights, and—yes, we admit it—gossip. According to the newsletter’s founder, who compiled these statistics from data released by The New York Times, there were 125 number-one bestselling books in 2006. James Patterson wrote nine of those 125 books. That’s seven and one quarter percent of all number-one bestselling books published in 2006. Gadzooks!
Hachette, the parent company of Patterson’s publisher, Little, Brown, “only” had eighteen number-one bestsellers in 2006. That means that fully half of Hachette’s success in this realm was due to a single author—James Patterson.
That might give Patterson the right to the nickname held by the late NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt—the Intimidator.