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Fire and Fury Book Shortage is a Boon for eBook Retailers

16 January 2018

From GoodEReader:

Fire and Fury is experiencing a tremendous shortage since it was released on January 9th. It was published by Henry Holt, which is a subsidiary of Macmillan. There was only 150,000 copies of the in the United States and the demand was so high that stores were selling out before the end of the first day. Amazon is completely out of stock in the United States and UK, with a four week delivery period. I think the one thing that Fire and Fury has reiterated is that the publishing industry is woefully unprepared for breakout books and that digital is the way to go.

The first day that Fire and Fury went on sale the publisher sold 250,000 ebooks and 100,000 audiobooks. The digital edition of Fire and Fury outsold the hardcover at Barnes & Noble (B&N sold over 9,000 print copies) and was #1 in the iBooks store last week. The book is also #1 in Amazon’s Kindle store and is dominating the sales charts at Kobo.

Michael Tamblyn the CEO of Kobo stated that “When I say “this book is a monster” I mean it in every sense of the word: the subject is a rough beast, shambling and spraying acid and bile; as a historical document it is both beyond belief and completely believable; and it’s selling like crazy. Highest one-day sales of any non-fiction title in Kobo history.”

Link to the rest at GoodEReader


8 Comments to “Fire and Fury Book Shortage is a Boon for eBook Retailers”

  1. My library (Los Angeles Public) has ordered 230(!) copies of the “Fire and Fury” Overdrive ebook (6 people waiting for each copy) and 154 copies of the audiobook (6 people waiting). That blows away any of the other libraries mentioned in this article. I’ve never seen anything remotely close to those numbers, not even Harry Potter, 50 Shades, etc. I’m sure that the lack of print copies explains it.

    • One interesting thing about California libraries is that most of them will issue you a card as long as you can prove that you live in California – anywhere in California. I could (and at some point do plan to) visit LA and stop by an LAPL branch to get a card. With that in hand, I can use their Overdrive collection in addition to the 3 Northern California libraries I already have access to.

    • This relates directly to the publisher’s terms for the ebook license to the library. “Fire and Fury” is published by an imprint of Macmillan, who limits the ebook license to 52 checkouts or 24 months, whichever comes first. That means that the library calculated how many checkouts they were likely to get, and bought enough licenses all at once.

      If the ebook had been a perpetual license, they probably would have bought fewer and had a longer waiting list, but they’ll be spending the money either way so they probably front-loaded it. A waiting list of 6 is insanely low for a popular book at a public library, I have seen waiting lists of over 50 for some of the most popular titles. I would guess that in a few months or so, the number of copies listed will be lower, as some of those licenses are used up.

  2. As the parent of school-age children, I stopped right at the third sentence and said “There WERE only 150,00 copies…”

    The inability of otherwise supposedly educated people to use the correct singular and plural forms drives me crazy, almost as much as “much & many” – I can hear the misuse of the word ‘much’ from across the house.

    • Clearly, the grammatically correct form of that sentence is: ‘They warn’t only just 150,000 copies.’

      If you’re going to screw up, screw up properly. If you can’t strive for William Safire, you might as well aim at Huckleberry Finn.

    • “Less” used when it should be “fewer” is the mistake that really drives me nuts. 😉

      • Haha, I mentally correct that all the time when I hear/see it. I don’t usually bother trying to actually correct the person who made the error, though. The difference between the two is hard for a lot of people to wrap their minds around, if they’re not very language-focused people.

        • There’s no reason it should be so. I am not a language maven by any means. I tell the kids all the time.

          “Much is for things you measure. Many is for things you count”

          it is the same for less and fewer.

          “Less is for things you measure. Fewer is for things you count”.

          It’s not hard to understand at all. Look at the thing you are talking about. Do you count them? Use many / fewer. Do you measure them? Use much / less.

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