An interesting story picked up by Media Bistro today. Jason Pinter, author and Crown editor (imprint of Random House) compared the sales numbers of Chris Bohjalian’s The Double Bind: A Novel, picked as Barnes and Noble’s second store-wide choice versus Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Starbucks’ second pick. The New York Times Bestseller list will debut The Double Bind (fiction) at #3 and A Long Way Gone at #2 (non fiction).
Pinter makes the case that Starbucks is more influential than bookstores and may rival Oprah on the influence front. The inaguaral book for Starbucks’ Picks was Mitch Albom’s book, For One More Day, which sold 50,000 copies at Starbucks alone.
Midwives by Bohjalian was a former Oprah pick and therefore, according to Pinter, had established a base that would likely purchase his next release. Beah did not, but he did have an appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
The Bookscan numbers offer up more evidence in favor of Pinter’s thesis. Bohjalian sold 17,000 copies in week one and Beah, 26,000. Of the 26,000 Beah books sold, 19,000 were from “other” stores which Pinter says is Starbucks and that therefore, Beah, in the first week, sold more books through Starbucks that Bohjalian sold overall.
Interesting. Is it likely that Starbucks would pick a romance novel? Maybe not, but it’s food for thought nonetheless.