J.K. Rowling still has the magic - at least when it comes to selling books.
Despite mixed reviews from critics, The Casual Vacancy, Rowling's first post-Harry Potter
novel - this one for grown-ups - will land at No. 1 on USA TODAY's
Best-Selling Books list on Thursday. The book was released Sept. 27.
It bumps another kind of adult novel, E.L. James' erotic Fifty Shades of Grey, which has been No. 1 for 21 of the past 23 weeks.
is "kind of review-proof," says Sara Nelson, editorial director of
books and Kindle for Amazon.com, who's not surprised at Rowling's top
ranking given the strong pre-orders over the past few weeks.
The test, Nelson says, "is how well it continues to sell." No one in publishing expects it can match Potter sales in their heyday. Rowling's publisher, Little, Brown, says only that early sales are exceeding expectations.
bookseller John Evans says the novel is a best seller in all three of
his Diesel stores in Oakland, Malibu and Brentwood. "The demographic
seems to be women from 30 to 50 for the most part."
The novel, a
dark tale about the aftermath of the death of a local politician in a
small English town, has been called everything from brilliant to dull by
critics on both sides of the Atlantic.
USA TODAY gave it two stars out of four. The British Guardian said, "The worst you could say about it, really, is that it doesn't deserve the media frenzy surrounding it."
It's the ninth time Rowling has entered USA TODAY's list at No. 1. That includes six of her seven Potter novels, as well as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2001) by Newt Scamander (aka Rowling) and The Tales of Beedle the Bard (2008).
It took eight months, as word spread, for her debut, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, to hit No. 1 in 1999.
fan, Marie Malazarte, 30, a program assistant at the University of
Central Florida College of Nursing, says the new novel "is dark and
bleak, without the sense of hope or wonder" in Potter. Nevertheless, she "devoured" it last weekend.
thing that hasn't changed, she says: "Jo has a wonderful way with words
that makes it easy for me to keep turning the pages."