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Well, at least in NYC, as reported by Shelf Awareness:

Harry N. Abrams is off to a very muscular start in 2009. On Tuesday, the pub date for Jeff Kinney’s DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LAST STRAW (Amulet Books), the third book in the series, the company sold at least 80,000 copies of the book, Abrams president and CEO Michael Jacobs estimated. Some 3,000 people attended Kinney’s appearance that night at the Barnes & Noble in Carle Place, N.Y., on Long Island (see photo), and about 1,300 copies of the book were sold. (At the last minute, an Abrams sales manager drove 400 extra copies to the store in a van.) Kinney appeared last night at an event hosted by R.J. Julia, Madison, Conn. Jacobs commented: “We’re very happy, especially in this retail environment.”


  1. 1,000,000 copy first printing.

    Last Straw (#3) = #1 on BN.com
    #1 = #27, #2 = #36, Do It Yourself = #57

    And the first volume has been on the NYTimes bestseller list for 80-some weeks. In other words, we’ve got another Harry Potter, but without the media circus.

    Congrats, Charlie!

  2. When the Harry Potter books became hits, I saw comments to the effect that fantasy novels written for YAs and younger had been around for decades. So why was “Potter” such a hit? The same question could be asked re WIMPY KID. Are the books hits more because of sophisticated, effective marketing or because Kinney’s work is excellent?


  3. Couldn’t happen to a nicer or more deserving guy, really. Jeff is the best.

    Steven, I think Wimpy Kid is genuinely good stuff that very effectively taps into the brains of readers of a certain age. (Heck, I enjoyed it, too.) It’s both gently subversive and unapologetically sincere. One argument I’d offer against it being a manufactured phenomenon is its pre-publication success online, where it was read by millions with no publicity at all. I think it’s fair to say that, while Abrams has been very happy to ride the wave, it was probably as surprised as anyone when it hit. Sales of the first book built slowly by word of mouth. Ask some 10 year olds.

  4. That is so exciting! I remember being at one of Jeff’s early signings and thinking there should be a lot more kids! It’s great to see the book really hitting with the audience!! Well deserved.

  5. “Are the books hits more because of sophisticated, effective marketing or because Kinney’s work is excellent?”

    Kinney’s work is FUNNY and pitch perfect. They are hits because of strong word of mouth. They are easy to read, get into and lend themselves to re-reading several times over. I compare these books with the Simpsons. Something for everyone.