Kennedy book sales surge, paperback held back
NEW YORK (AP) – The e-book for Sen. Edward Kennedy’s “True Compass” is coming out on Christmas Day, more than three months after the hardcover release. But the paperback, thanks in part to an Oprah-inspired surge in sales, will not appear until 2011.
Weekly sales for the late senator’s memoir more than doubled after Kennedy’s widow, Vicki Kennedy, appeared on Winfrey’s television program for a show that aired the day before Thanksgiving, according to publisher Twelve. The interview was her most extensive since her husband died of brain cancer on Aug. 25.
Citing numbers from Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 75 percent of industry sales, Twelve spokesman Cary Goldstein said “True Compass” sold 11,000 copies the week before the Winfrey show, more than 22,000 the week after and more than 32,000 the next week, bringing the total to more than 400,000.
“True Compass,” for which Sen. Kennedy reportedly received an $8 million advance, had an announced first printing of 1.5 million copies.
Paperbacks usually come out within a year of hardcover publication, although their releases have been held back for such long-term best-sellers as “The Da Vinci Code.”
Goldstein said that Twelve’s decision to delay the paperback for Kennedy’s book was “based on the strength of sales, as well as reader responses, as evidenced by the memoir’s appearance on so many year-end best-of lists.
“We are confident that ‘True Compass’ will continue to perform well through next year and have decided to hold off on publishing a paperback edition until 2011,” he said.
Meanwhile, Twelve has decided to make the electronic edition available on Dec. 25. It had previously said the digital version would be withheld indefinitely.
Like a growing number of publishers, Twelve delayed the e-book over concern that electronic sales would come at the expense of the more expensive hardcover edition.
Twelve is an imprint of the Hachette Book Group USA.