By Bob Minzesheimer and Jocelyn McClurg, USA Today
J. K. Rowling will land at No. 1 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list on Thursday - but this time as Robert Galbraith.
As most of the world now knows, Galbraith is the pseudonym Rowling used when she released a detective novel, The Cuckoo's Calling, in April. Despite good reviews, it sold fewer than 1,000 copies.
since July 14, when a British newspaper revealed that the author was
not a military intelligence police officer but actually the woman who
invented Harry Potter, sales have soared. Most have been e-books; print
copies have been hard to find after the publisher was caught off-guard.
Thursday's new best-seller list -- which counts both print and digital formats -- will reflect sales through this past weekend.
July 15, Rowling's publisher, Little, Brown, said it would print an
additional 300,000 copies and begin shipping them to stores within a few
days. On Tuesday, the publisher announced it's printing an additional
But unlike Rowling's 10 other books to hit No. 1 on USA TODAY's list - including all seven of the Potter series and last fall's The Casual Vacancy, her first novel for grownups - print copies of The Cuckoo's Calling have been scarce.
Tuesday afternoon, Amazon was promising one-day shipping. And Barnes
& Noble's website reports that copies "usually ship within 24
But many B & N stores reported they were still
awaiting new shipments. On Tuesday, stores in Atlanta, Chicago, Coral
Gables, Fla., Dallas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle and White Plains,
N.Y., reported they were out of stock. But stores in Manhattan and
Philadelphia reported plenty of copies. Barnes & Noble Vice
President Mary Amicucci says, "We have stock in transit to all of our
stores right now and expect to be fully stocked by the end of the week."
Goldin of Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee says the 25 copies he
ordered last Monday didn't arrive until Tuesday, eight days later.
is just the sort of thing that moves print readers to e-books," he
says, adding, "All in all, I think they did a decent job of getting the
books out there."
In Denver, Cathy Langer of The Tattered Cover, was still waiting for her new shipment of The Cuckoo's Calling.
She fears the delay will mean that "some of the impulse sales from the
excitement of the revelation might be lost with the more casual Rowling
fans whose attention has been distracted by something else."
As for whether e-book sales are eating into print sales, she says, "The question is whether The Cuckoo's Calling
is ... a book that readers will want to have on their shelves, for the
quality of the writing, as a book to cherish and share."
Michael Pietsch, publisher of Little, Brown when The Casual Vacancy
was published, says that fewer than 25% of its sales were e-books -
well below the share for most popular novels. He thinks many of
Rowling's fans wanted an actual copy to place next to the Potter
collection on their bookshelves.
At a Barnes & Noble in midtown Manhattan Tuesday afternoon, the store had finally received its first shipment of The Cuckoo's Calling -- about 100 copies -- since the author's identity was revealed.
a few hours, the store had sold "quite a few copies," both to walk-ins
and to customers who had reserved them, bookseller Errin Toma said. "The
whole week there was huge customer demand."
How did it feel to finally have copies?
"Really great," she said with a big smile. "It's nice to not have to disappoint customers. It's a relief to have it."
She said she thought the store had enough copies to meet demand, but as more are printed by the publisher, "we'll get more in."