RARA-AVIS: How Many Customers Did the Mick Really Have?

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 13 Sep 2006

In updating my entry on Mickey Spillane for the new "issue" of THE THRILLING DETECTIVE WEB SITE, I relied quite a bit on the slew of obits that popped up to fill out my notes, but it seems every time I read one, the writer upped his sales figures.

The first ones suggestion 140 million or so copies of his books sold, but later obits gradually bumped the sales figures up, until they were generally hovering around the 200 million mark.

Which is fine -- nobody's ever suggested Spillane wasn't popular.

But this weekend, I came across an article in USA WEEKEND that claimed Agatha Christie sold "more than 100 million copies" of her books. Again, nobody would deny that Christie moved a few units in her time (or, I guess, that "more than 100 million" could mean 100 gabbadillion).

But did Spillane really sell twice as many books as Christie? YIKES!!!! Now THAT'S sales figures!!!!

Especially when you consider that Spillane wrote relatively few books and sold most of them in one particular era (the fifties), whereas the more prolific Christie was more of a perennial seller, her books never really vanishing -- even now -- from the shelves the way Spillane's did.

Does anyone know of any site that tracks sales figures of various authors? It mnight be very interesting to check out.

Kevin Burton Smith http://www.thrillingdetective.com Issue #40 is now up... You've been warned.

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 13 Sep 2006 EDT