Re: [mythsoc] [Fwd: question about the Lord of the Rings]
- Hey, the books are now in the top 10 of most sales lists. Right behind the
Harry Potter books, if they will list honestly. Since the NY Times has
decided the HP and LotR aren't "Adult" books, they aren't on their main list,
ie some publishers convinced them to move the most popular books off the main
list so that their less popular books could be on the NYT Top 10 list. *sigh*
They have always sold well. Each new book has always hit the top 10 (usually
#1). They've kinda fallen out of lists because no one needed yet another
copy. Now the movies have introduced more people to the books, plus there are
new editions completests need to own.
But yes, I'd say the books are popular.
So why do these people act like they need information about this. I think
it's a translation problem, they are from Japan. They are trying to
*understand* the popularity of a books, ie why do people like them so much?
Since it is obvious from the sales of the books and movies that people really
Frankly, I think the books speak for themselves. David should probably talk
to them, he comes off as an educated fanatic.
> In a message dated 5/16/02 10:58:37 AM Central Daylight Time,
> ecrowe@... writes:
> > > We are looking for the information about the popularity of the book,
> > > "the Lord of the Rings", whch was published as paperback in 1965.
> It's popular?
- In a message dated 5/16/02 8:08:48 PM Central Daylight Time,
> Hey, the books are now in the top 10 of most sales lists.Sorry my irony didn't make it across the ether!! You are very right, Lisa,
the books are and have been immensely popular, and I think we should sic the
Japanese on David, for sure :)
- Despite the fact there is a translation issue concerned, the request
looks like a standard "how many copies have been sold" question to
me. I've been asked that question a number of times, myself.
The most commonly cited figure comes from the 1992 count, which put
THE LORD OF THE RINGS at 50 million copies. In 1998 or 1999 I came
across a news story which estimated sales had reached 80 million
copies (in 30 languages) and that Tolkien had sold more than 100
million books altogether.
Either HarperCollins or Houghton Mifflin was supposed to publish new
sales figures last year, but I never saw them. However, about the
time the movie came out in December, I started to see media citations
of more than 100 million copies sold for THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
I doubt there is really any accurate or reliable information
regarding the popularity of THE LORD OF THE RINGS. In my opinion,
you would have to gauge sales of tertiary books (including David
Day's books) and the Christopher Tolkien-edited books.
My eBook, PARMA ENDORION: ESSAYS ON MIDDLE-EARTH, 3rd edition, has
been downloaded more than 50,000 times since January 5. We may break
60,000 downloads by the end of this month (but the download rate is
diminishing, so I'm not sure). I'm projecting a total download
volume of about 75-80,000 copies for this year.
That eBook has been promoted mostly through my own Web site, although
the 2nd edition Parma Endorion Web site was favorably mentioned by
Yahoo! Internet Life's online poll (and that undoubtedly, coupled
with my TV GUIDE interview, lies behind much of the eBook's
I think that, if an eBook of collected essays can generate that many
downloads, the published books even by people like David Day must
have sold hundreds of thousands of copies through the years. The
collected reference work/commentary work sales must have gone well
beyond the 5 million mark.
But that's just a guestimate. It would be nice to know if there is
any way to find out. It does seem like, however, that about all you
have to do to move a book is slap Tolkien's name or Middle-earth on
If nothing else, it would give me something new to tell the media if
they come calling again next Fall.