The 2012 Best-Selling Books

Watching book sales has been an endlessly fascinating piece of my journalistic life, and the recent analysis I published of 2012’s top-selling titles from USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list is no exception.

The top 10 (posted via a nifty datatables.js embedded table), reflects the year’s most prominent trend — two series from two authors accounted for seven of the top 10 slots and about 25% of the sales the list tracked.

The table also includes annual top 100 lists back to 2007.

One tidbit that didn’t get a lot of notice: constant favorite “To Kill a Mockingbird” passed 800 weeks on the USA TODAY list. From my view, the most welcome books news of the year.


Tracking Hurricane Sandy

Update 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30: At my place. Sandy brought a sleepless night in the basement, with winds howling like a freight train and a battery-powered backup sump pump the only thing standing between us and a flooded house. We are thankful that the battery held out all night, even as the water poured in.

All day Monday and Tuesday, my colleagues at USA TODAY did an incredible job with Sandy coverage: Check it out.

The 2011 Best-Selling Books

In 2011, a year when consumers unboxed millions of e-readers, fiction dominated even more of USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list. Colleague Carol Memmott and I reported today that 78% of the titles in the weekly book lists last year were fiction, up from 67% in 2007. The finding is one of several covered in our annual look at trends off the book list:

“People are interested in escape,” says Carol Fitzgerald of the Book Report Network, websites for book discussions. “In a number of pages, the story will open, evolve and close, and a lot of what’s going on in the world today is not like that. You’ve got this encapsulated escape that you can enjoy.”

We’ve posted the 100 top-selling titles of 2011 in a handy data table that includes the annual lists back to 2007.

A Facelift for a Book List

The USA TODAY Best-Selling Books list has a new look and added interactivity, part of a relaunch of books coverage. It’s been a fun project that has been on my front burner for about three months.

I get to work with all kinds of data at USA TODAY, but the book list has been a constant. When I arrived at USAT in 1997, one of the first projects I took on was to build and analyze an archive of the list to mark its fifth anniversary. Since then, as that archive grew to hold nearly 18 years of data, we’ve used it to anchor stories about authors and trends in publishing. We’re awfully proud of the list, and people in the publishing industry tell us it’s one of the most accurate accounts of Americans’ weekly reading habits.

Last year, we opened the archives up to developers via a Best-Selling Books API. This year, giving the list itself a facelift was the next logical step.

We were fortunate to assemble a crack team of designers, developers and product managers who, in a short time, conceptualized, designed, redesigned, and coded an entirely new collection of book-related pages for our site. What’s new: