April 5, 2005
Pope's demise is selling books . . .
by Dennis Johnson
“Pope John Paul‘s death was big business for publishers and memorabilia collectors yesterday as five books penned by the pope zoomed into Amazon.com‘s Top 100,” with his newest, Memory and Identity, charting at number three on Amazon and number two on Barnes & Noble.com within three hours of his death, according to a New York Post report by Aly Sujo. Retailers stood long at the ready, says Sujo: “Over the past week, Catholic gift shops have stocked up on CDs and DVD on the pope’s life, and Barnes & Noble sent messages to its stores about how to set up papal displays. The company gave instructions on how to display in-stock books with signs reading ‘A lifetime remembered.'” An Associated Press wire story by Hillel Italie also reports stores were ready. “Stores around the country, from the Tattered Cover in Denver, to R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Conn., were offering recommendations to customers. Nancy Brown, a buyer for R.J. Julia, said she was emphasizing books for children, including John Paul’s Every Child a Light.” Italie also reports on some of the more cynical chatter in the book business over the weekend: that “Media coverage of John Paul’s death will likely take attention from three major U.S. books scheduled to come out Tuesday: Jane Fonda‘s My Life So Far, Jack Welch‘s Winning and Sue Monk Kidd‘s The Mermaid Chair.”
Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives