Last year, there was a clear winner among books for the holiday gift of choice: “Steve Jobs,” by Walter Isaacson. This year, despite a lineup of offerings from literary heavyweights, many of whom have commanded strong sales in the past, there has not been a breakout hit for the holiday season, booksellers say.
Books like Bob Woodward’s “Price of Politics,” Tom Wolfe’s “Back to Blood” and Salman Rushdie’s “Joseph Anton” have each sold well under 100,000 copies by the end of last week according to Nielsen Bookscan. (In contrast, the Jobs biography sold 379,000 copies in the first week after its release in October 2011.)
While Bookscan does not include e-books and covers only roughly 75 percent of retail outlets, this year’s figures provide a snapshot of the fragmented holiday sales picture as a whole: independent bookstores report that a range of books are moving nicely, but there are mixed numbers from Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest book chain, and solid but not stellar growth in digital sales....
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