Rage! That’s our feeling after seeing that, despite much anticipation, J.K. Rowling’s new book The Casual Vacancy is actually not the biggest print debut of the year.
That title goes to No Easy Day by Mark Owen, one of the Navy Seals who killed Osama Bin Laden last year. His book sold 274,000 physical copies.
In second place is E.L. James’ second book in the Fifty Shades trilogy Fifty Shades Darker. It sold 176,000 copies.
In third is Rowling, who’s book about a small town’s “casual vacancy” sold 156,000 copies. In fourth and fifth place are Fifty Shades Freed and Fifty Shades of Grey with 147,000 and 136,000 books sold respectively.
If eBook numbers are added in, all of these books climb higher. Worldwide, Vacancy has sold over 500,000 copies across eBook and physical platforms. The above numbers came from a Publisher’s Weekly article examining the success of physical books in the age of digital.
At the Cheltenham Literature Festival over the weekend, Rowling hosted a release event and responded to criticism. “I am not a particularly thick-skinned person,” she said. “It is true that a lot of what I am looking at in the book are certainly middle-class issues, but then I think that’s fair and I am well-qualified as I am from the middle class, which I can empathise with. But I think some critics have misrepresented my views as more extreme or black and white than they really are. I don’t think I am evangelical in my work.”