So, checking in at Amazon.com today I saw this, regarding the paperback version of Death Star:
Amazon.com Sales Rank: #9,660 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)
#22 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Series
#31 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera
#55 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Movie Tie-Ins.
What is interesting about this is that the book isn't being published until November the 25th, so nobody can get it for a couple weeks yet.
Reaves and I have high hopes for this one's sales, in that it is coming out in time for Christmas shoppers, and even at eight bucks a pop, is cheap entertainment. In a family of readers, a book can be passed around. And then you can take it to the used book store and get credit on another book.
Given the financial tenor of the times, cheap entertainment is a good thing.
(Of course, in order for us to make any money on it, given our itty-bitty piece of the royalty, it will have to sell better than ice water on a summer day in tropical Hell, and blow everything else off the top of the bestseller lists across the board. Which, we know realistically, isn't going to happen. But, like buying a lottery ticket is less about winning than it is in buying the brief fantasy that you could win, we can pretend we might hit #1 and get rich -- until the book actually comes out ...)
Inside-your-own-head fantasy is a wonderful entertainment. What if?
Whereas somebody who is dead broke might fantasize about buying a new house or a jazzy new car, paying off debts, putting the kids through school, writers I know get grandiose when they fantasize -- because they can. Observe:
So I write this book and bam! it takes off. Oprah loves it, the New York Times loves it. It sells six million copies in a one-day worldwide laydown. Top of every major bestseller list in sixteen countries.
My phone rings and it's a conference call -- Brad and Angelina are on the line, they love it, they want the rights so they can star in the movie, is ten million and a big piece of the net enough? and I shake my head and say, "Oh, wow, I'd love to work with you kids, but I just don't think you're right for it ... hold on a second, I have another call coming in" -- and it's Spielberg and Lucas, and the doorbell rings, and, oh, my, it's George Clooney and Will Smith duking it out to see who gets inside the gate first, and look -- it's Jennifer Aniston tapping at my office window ...
Harry Potter? Yeah, that series did okay, but compared to my book? Peanuts ...
When I have a fantasy, I don't mess around.
During the Great Depression, movies became very popular. Even though a nickel or a dime admission was relatively a lot in the 1930's, it was probably easier to come up with that than the current nine or ten bucks a pop each nowadays. Taking the family out for movies at the local cineplex, and factoring in popcorn more valuable than gold by weight, and soft drinks that cost more per ounce than French perfume, going to first-run movies is a somewhat spendy proposition these days.
I expect that a lot of folks are going to be staying home, reading used books or paperbacks, and watching a lot of television for the immediate future. If I wasn't swapping books in trade at Powell's, I couldn't begin to afford to read all the books I want to read ...