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Bestselling Sports Biographies of 2009

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by swenk, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. swenk

    swenk Member

    According to Nielsen Bookscan:


    The list shows sales figures, which probably represent roughly 70% of the total. No wonder sports books are in the tank.

    Just wondering: Did you buy any of these?
  2. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    I bought "Satchel." Loved it.

    Didn't purchase -- nor do I have any interest in reading -- any of the others.
  3. Martin_Lane

    Martin_Lane Member

    Of the new titles, Bill Russell's book was enjoyable, at least to this old Celtics fan. I read LeBron's book in order to review it ($$) but wouldn't go near it otherwise. "Born to Run" was quite good.

    I'm sorry there are so many Yankee titles on there; it will only encourage them.
  4. bdangelo

    bdangelo Member

    I also read the Satchel Paige biography. I thought it was well done and presented some new information. Very enjoyable.
  5. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    Are these hard, net sales or just numbers of books ordered by bookstores for what we all know to be consignment sales? Are returns accounted for?
  6. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

  7. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    I'd be interested to know how big the advances were for Selena Roberts and Jim Nantz. I"m guessing both were well into six figures because of their relative notoriety. While both books have been out for at least six months, neither has much in the way of sales. Low five figuers for both.

    I'm not commenting on the quality of either book---both might be great reads, although I"ve read neither. But both publishers must be taking a wash on those books. Not only are they out the author advances, but also sizable print costs and marketing expenses.

    Not good for the publishing industry and sports titles.
  8. The only ones that I've read are the two Michael Lewis books that have already been out. I definitely am putting "The Yankee Years" on the Christmas list, though.

    There are some notables that are not on the list, including Scott Price's Mike Coolbaugh book and Seth Davis' Bird and Magic book. I have to imagine that Krakauer's Pat Tillman book will dent that list by the end of the year, right? Maybe settle in second to the Torre and Verducci book. Also some other good titles that have recently hit the shelves in time for the Christmas shopping season, including "Game Six" by Frost, "The Machine" by Posnanski and something on Don Larsen's perfect game. Yes, another Yankees book. No real iconic bios this year, though, I notice. Nothing like "Pistol Pete" or "Ted Williams" or "Joe DiMaggio" or "When Pride Still Mattered." Wonder why.

    Harrowing read, though, as I steer my own project to completion over the next month. Yikes. More motivation to make it sing, I guess.
  9. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Wow. The dropoff in sales after No. 1 is amazing. Hell, my book almost sold enough way back when to make that list!
    Doesn't speak well to the popularity of sports books.
  10. swenk

    swenk Member

    Bookscan measures actual sales to consumers, so these numbers reflect the net.

    The whole book biz is a trainwreck right now, so it's probably not fair to isolate sports books. But some of these titles (and others that didn't even make the list) were so saturated in hype and big advances that the publishers are understandably nauseous about the category right now.
  11. sportbook

    sportbook Member

    It certainly doesn't look good but it isn't quite as bad as this article portrays. I'll write more later but I just did a quick BookScan search and Dungy's Quiet Strength, while a memoir and not a biography, has sold just shy of 50,000 copies in softcover this calendar year and has sold more than 600,000 in both hardcover and softcover since it released in 2007. It's certainly sold well more than one million copies if you count the outlets that BookScan doesn't tally (Christan bookstores, for example). Wildly successful and one of the best-sellings sports books in history.

    Joe Gibbs’s Game Plan for Life released in July 2009 and has already sold more than 25,000 copies according to BookScan, including more than 15,000 in its first month. It reached No. 3 on the New York Times’s “Advice, How-To” list. This likely should have also been included in the overall sports list in the piece.

    Jim Tressel’s The Winners Manual released in hardcover in July of 2008. According to BookScan it sold 14,700 copies in its first week and more than 25,000 copies in its first month. It reached No. 3 on the Times’s “Advice, How-To” list. It has sold more than 70,000 copies according to BookScan.

    Deanna Favre’s Don’t Bet Against Me! Has sold more than 85,000 copies according to BookScan since its release in October 2007. It was also a New York Times best seller.

    Off to a meeting but more later...
  12. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    I'm guessing 21k sales for Roberts' A-Rod book wasn't exactly what the publishers were banking on.
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