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See the cover and an excerpt from Mitch Albom's new novel -- EXCLUSIVE


Professional heartstring-tugger Mitch Albom has written a new novel that might appear to veer away from his usual style, but The Time Keeper (out Aug. 28) does touch upon his go-to themes. Albom’s fiction and nonfiction books — the most famous of which is the 1997 best-seller Tuesdays with Morrie — typically center on death and loss, and his previous novels, The Five People You Meet in Heaven and For One More Day, have dealt with the afterlife and some supernatural elements. The Time Keeper is the legend of Father Time — not as a bearded scythe-wielder, but as a young boy. Sound interesting? Fans of Albom can check out the exclusive cover (left) and first excerpt below! READ FULL STORY

'The Lost Symbol' and 'Going Rogue' top 2009 best-seller list

Though it didn’t sell as strongly as The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol moved more than 5.5 million copies to dominate Publishers Weekly‘s just-unveiled list of the best-selling hardcover books of 2009. A few other expected author names populate the Top 15, including John Grisham (No. 2 and No. 6), James Patterson (No. 5), and Patricia Cornwell (No. 12 and No. 14). Stephenie Meyer landed in the ninth spot with her 2008 sci-fi novel The Host, but the lack of a Twilight book was evident, particularly in the ascendancy of two entries from P.C. Cast’s Twi-lite House of Night series, which rose up to fill a vampire-shaped hole. The real surprise, though, is Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, which itself was helped by tremendous word of mouth to become the fourth best-selling fiction book of the year with 1.1 million copies sold. On the nonfiction side, it was politics, mainly conservative, that got the cash register ringing. Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue capped the list, but books by Glenn Beck, conservative radio host Mark Levin, and the late Edward Kennedy all made it into the top five.

Whereas sales of albums and movie tickets are tallied virtually in real-time, the figures for the publishing industry are often as closely guarded as the Colonel’s secret recipe, so PW’s yearly ranking offers one of the best snapshots of the literary marketplace. And while the top contenders on both the fiction and nonfiction lists sold millions of copies, the overall list reveals a far less rosy picture of book sales. The number of titles that sold at least 100,000 copies is down by significant double-digit percentages from 2008 in both fiction and nonfiction.

E-book sales figures weren’t included this year (they will be for 2010), but since digital editions rarely exceed 5 percent of a book’s total sales it’s unlikely that the 2009 sales list would have received a big boost from their inclusion. Here are the top selling books of 2009 (since some publishers did not provide PW exact sales figures, several titles’ rankings are based on estimates or sales figures provided in confidence for the purposes of ranking):

Hardcover Fiction

1. The Lost Symbol: A Novel, Dan Brown (5,543,643 copies)
2. The Associate: A Novel, John Grisham
3. Tempted, P.C. Cast (1,141,818)
4. The Help, Kathryn Stockett (1,104,617)
5. I, Alex Cross, James Patterson (1,040,976)
6. Ford County, John Grisham
7. Finger Lickin’ Fifteen, Janet Evanovich (977,178)
8. Hunted, P.C. Cast (931,219)
9. The Host: A Novel, Stephenie Meyer (912,165)
10. Under the Dome, Stephen King
11. Pirate Latitudes, Michael Crichton (855,638)
12. Scarpetta, Patricia Cornwell (800,00)
13. U Is for Undertow, Sue Grafton (706,154)
14. The Scarpetta Factor, Patricia Cornwell (705,000)
15. Shadowland, Alyson Noel (609,355)

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. Going Rogue: An American Life, Sarah Palin (2,674,684 copies)
2. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment, Steve Harvey (1,735,219)
3. Arguing With Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government, Glenn Beck
4. Liberty & Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, Mark R. Levin
5. True Compass: A Memoir, Edward M. Kennedy (870,402)
6. Have a Little Faith: A True Story, Mitch Albom (855,843)
7. It’s Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God’s Favor, Joel Osteen
8. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow (610,033)
9. Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books Not Bombs, Greg Mortenson (515,566)
10. Superfreakonomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (487,977).
11. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child (487,228)
12. Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body! Jillian Michaels (486,154)
13. The Yankee Years, Joe Torre and Tom Verducci (397,954)
14. Open, Andre Agassi (383,722)
15. Time of My Life, Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niem

'Clerks' director Kevin Smith on his 'filthy' new book and his unlikely collaboration with Mitch Albom

kevin-smith-book_lPotty-mouthed auteur Kevin Smith wants you to know that he feels bad about being a book author. “Yeah, I feel a little guilty,” says Smith in his Manhattan hotel room. “I feel like a carpetbagger. Or, at worst, a f–king fraud, man. Because an author’s John Grisham. Or Stephen King. Dude, I‘m sure even Ann Coulter sits down and writes her f—ing psycho-babble.” Smith, on the other hand, did not deliberately set out to write any of his three books. 2005’s Silent Bob Speaks was a round-up of previously penned essays while 2007’s My Boring A– Life was a round-up of his blogging. Smith’s new publication, Shootin’ The Sh– with Kevin Smith, involved even less writing than the previous two tomes. The book features transcriptions of the regular podcast (or “Smodcast,” to use the preferred nomenclature) Smith conducts with his producer Scott Mosier in which the pair consider such weighty topics as how soon they would start having sex with each other if they found themselves on the Lost island.

Smith also has a presumably lucrative sideline as a comics writer—his Batman: Cacophony collection is currently the bestselling graphic novel in the country—though the director insists that profit is not his primary goal when it comes to his publishing endeavors. “It’s always nice to have a an extra little scratch” says the man who brought us Clerks, Dogma and the forthcoming A Couple of Dicks, which stars Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. “But, let’s be honest, it’s not like there’s a f—ing shit ton of money in publishing. I do it because I slap it in front of the wife and she’s like, ‘Wow.’ She’s impressed by literature. She’s not really impressed by film. Or, if she is, she’s not really impressed by my films.”

After the break, Smith uses more salty language (and we really can’t emphasize that point enough) to discuss the book, why Ben Affleck is unlikely to ever feature on his podcast, and his surprising collaboration with Five People You Meet in Heaven author Mitch AlbomREAD FULL STORY

Adventures in publishing: 'Twilight' publisher told the book's editor, 'Are you crazy?'

In a refreshingly frank new video from Samanthus Ettus’ interview show Obsessed, former head of Warner Books Larry Kirschbaum reveals his skepticism about signing then-unknown Stephenie Meyer to a three-book deal for “significant six figures.” “I called the editor and said basically, ‘Are you crazy? This is a first author, no platform, just a housewife, books about vampires. Do people really want to read that?'” It’s worth noting that in the end Kirschbaum signed off on the deal that led to the Twilight phenomenon — though he also says he advised another Warner author, Detroit-based sports columnist Mitch Albom, to “stick to sports” and watched as Albom went to rival Doubleday for the non-sports book that would become megahit Tuesdays With Morrie.

And that’s just in the opening minutes of this interview with Kirschbaum and recently ousted HarperCollins president-CEO Jane Friedman, who offer thoughtful insights on the current woes of the publishing industry. Both agree that too many books are published, extol the virtues of self-publishing, note the slowness of major publishers to adapt to digital formats, and speculate on the fate of “legacy publishers” which, Friedman says, will struggle to reinvent themselves “because there’s too much history and there’s too much overhead.” “You’ve got a model that’s self-imploding,” she says. “If you look at the biggest best-sellers, the publisher is using the money that comes in to turn on the lights. But the publisher isn’t making any money on those books.” (It’s also fun to watch Friedman tap dance around questions about her frigid relationship with Judith Regan, the former head of Harper-based ReganBooks.)

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