Monday, October 10, 2005

What A Difference A Day Makes

by Tom Bozzo

Yesterday, Thomas Schelling's The Strategy of Conflict was Amazon's 180,079th biggest selling book. As of this writing, it's 55th. Choice and Consequence leapt from 318,497th to 410th. (Hypothesis: the periodic sales difference between 180,079th and 318,497th is a lot smaller than the difference between 55th and 410th.)

Either could make a good book club item (*), though it may be tough to scare up copies for the next few weeks. Alan, Brayden, other takers?

Update: At Armchair Capitalists, Isaac makes a case for Micromotives and Macrobehavior.

(*) While Alan may have been kidding, is not one of the functions of the blogosphere is to blog others' not-fully-serious suggestions?
Comments:
I just bought Choice and Consequence and have been meaning to read it for some time now. I'm even assigning a chapter in it for my Markets and Society course in the spring.
 
Interesting post at Pub Sociology. I wonder how much of the class-identification of modern fiction has also to do with the perceived market for that fiction. Books are mostly consumed by the upper middle class; publishers assume that the upper middle class only wants to read about itself and the upper class it aspires to.

Richard Russo is one of the few American authors I've really enjoyed in recent years.
 
Funny, I had Choices and Consequences checked out of the library earlier this year but didn't quite get into it: Schelling may write well, but he can't compete with good fiction!

The Schelling book I've meant to read for years is Micromotives and Macrobehavior.
 
OK, I nominate C&C for the book club, though I'll have to scare up a copy for myself.

Phantom: I think you're onto something with the product market. I'd be curious how mass-market versus "literary" fiction would compare. I usually think of the latter as much more commonly taking life in various underclasses as subject matter.
 
The continuation of PS's thought, though, is that you must be discussing disposal (or, to borrow a phrase, self-consuming) artifacts when you talk about the "market."

Even net of college assignments, "literary" fiction continues to outsell--and sell steadily--contemporary fiction. (Those of you with 14-days-free or who p*ss*d away enough money to buy 10-12 DVDs of first run movies in the subway can check through the NYT Archives from about 18 months ago, when they discussed the real "best-sellers.")
 
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