Friday, January 14, 2005

'America' goes over the top in holiday sales
By Bob Minzesheimer, USA TODAY

A book featuring a foreword by Thomas Jefferson and full-frontal nudity of Supreme Court justices was the best-selling title this holiday season.'s Carol Fitzgerald says readers from "both the blue and the red states got a laugh," even if they didn't agree with Stewart."

America (The Book), the satire by Jon Stewart and the staff of The Daily Show, was the hottest book in the four weeks before Christmas, according to sales data collected for USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list.

"Hands down, it was the gift book of the year," says Barnes & Noble vice president Daniel Blackman, who notes that although America was published in September, half of its sales came after Thanksgiving. And in the five weeks after Thanksgiving, he says, Stewart's parody of a textbook outsold Bill Clinton's memoir, My Life, 7 to 1.

Knopf, Clinton's publisher, says more than 1.9 million copies of My Life have sold since it was released in June.

Hot year-end reads

The 10 best-selling books in the four weeks leading up to Christmas:

1. America (The Book), Jon Stewart and writers of The Daily Show

2. The Five People You Meet in Heaven: A Novel, Mitch Albom

3. The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg

4. The Last Juror, John Grisham

5. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown 6. State of Fear, Michael Crichton

7. Your Best Life Now, Joel Osteen

8. He's Just Not That Into You, Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

9. A Salty Piece of Land, Jimmy Buffett

10. A Series of Unfortunate Events No. 1: The Bad Beginning, Lemony Snicket

Source: USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list data; based on sales Nov. 28-Dec. 25

Stewart's publisher, Warner Books, won't disclose sales, but says the book went into its 15th printing this week, raising copies in print to 1.9 million.

Subtitled A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction, the book short essays and graphics, including the doctored photos of the Supreme Court. It was Publishers Weekly's Most Notable Book of 2004 and Entertainment Weekly named Stewart 2004's Entertainer of the Year.

In a year of political best sellers, America was one of the few whose sales rose after the election.

Carol Fitzgerald, president of, a site for book discussions, says readers from "both the blue and the red states got a laugh," even if they didn't agree with Stewart.

Warner Publisher Jamie Raab says sales started strong, dropped before Thanksgiving, "but have been incredible since. I think people read it, then went back and bought copies for friends."

Nightly plugs for the book on Stewart's Comedy Central show also helped.

Stewart and staff plan a revised paperback edition, not yet scheduled. He also jokes about a sequel: South America (The Book). - 'America' goes over the top in holiday sales

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