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Steve Jobs biography moves 379,000 copies in first week

updated 02:20 pm EDT, Wed November 2, 2011

Steve Jobs biography outsells others 3-to-1

Nielsen BookScan US data on Wednesday determined that Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs was by far the most popular book in its first week of sales. The title, which costs as much as $35 in paper form and about half as much in digital, moved 379,000 copies just in the US, Bookseller noted. It was over three times more popular than John Grisham's legal drama The Litigators and about eight times more popular than neoconservative Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln.

At its pace, it was already the 18th most popular book of 2011 despite arriving with just two months left in the year. It also had the best first-week sales for almost a year, being beaten only by a tie last November between Jeff Kinney's latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book and George W. Bush's memoir Decision Points.

In the UK, the Jobs biography was one of the fastest-selling non-fiction titles since sales figures were tracked in the country, moving 37,244 copies in the same amount of time as in the US.

It's not clear whether the tallies for either included digital copies. BookScan only just started combining e-books this weekend.

Isaacson's title was helped by a confluence of subject and timing. While regularly controversial during his lifetime, Jobs passed away after what was considered by many to be hitting a peak in reinventing and largely dominating the tablet through the iPad. The author also had the extremely rare opportunity to publish a biography just a few weeks after its subject had died, keeping memories fresh in most potential readers' minds and interest at a peak where most post-death biographies come months or years later.

As the first and only biography to get Jobs' full cooperation, it has not only given a rare candid look at Jobs' views but also a possible clue to future products, like a reimagining of the TV, that may become part of his final legacy.

by MacNN Staff



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