An article with the above title, Porter Anderson, appears in the June 16 issue of Publishing Perspectives. Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair’s 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives.
Excerpts from the article are as follows:
“A demonstration of how responsive the US marketplace can be to a national crisis: Have a look at Amazon Charts‘ nonfiction listings.
Normally updated on Wednesdays, these titles are showing No. 1 and 2 in both the charts’ Most Sold and Most Read categories to be, respectively White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (Beacon Press, 2018) and How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (Penguin Random House, 2019), respectively.
Those two titles went onto the list two and three weeks ago, respectively just after, and one week after, George Floyd’s death for which former police officer Derek Chauvin now is charged with second-degree murder.
And just out a week ago, on June 9, Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America (Macmillan/Henry Holt) is the timely new release from Stacey Abrams on voter suppression.
On the list of potential vice-presidential candidates for the Joe Biden ticket, Abrams’ book arrived with eerie timing last week–just as Georgia (where she has run for governor) went into a primary-election meltdown of voting-machine failures and waiting lines between four and eight hours long.
More from the Amazon Charts, Most Sold in nonfiction–and the timing on many of these, most on the list for one or two weeks, indicates the drivers to which publishing’s content is responding:
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (Hachette/Seal Press) is at No. 4.
- Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad (Sourcebooks) is at No. 5
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (New Press) is at No. 6
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Penguin Random House/Spiegel & Grau) is at No. 7
- Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi (Bold Type Books) is at No 8
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (Penguin Random House/Spiegel & Grau) is at No. 9
- The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein (LiveRight) is at No. 11
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum (Basic Books) is at No. 12
- Becoming by Michelle Obama (Penguin Random House) is at No. 13
- Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood (Penguin Random House/Spiegel & Grau) is at No. 14
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You (a remix with Jason Reynolds of Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped, Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) is at No. 15
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown (Penguin Random House/Convergent Books) is at No. 16
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (Vintage) is at No. 18
- Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation by Candace Owens (Simon & Schuster/Threshold Editions)
I think it’s pretty remarkable the extent to which writers and publishers are responding to a national crisis as evidenced by the dominance of these non-fiction works on the Amazon Most Sold List.