Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography has clearly been successful, topping best-seller lists ahead of its release, but new numbers reveal the extent of that success. The 656-page book has sold around 379,000 copies in the U.S. during its first week, according to a Nielsen report.


Updated. Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography has clearly been a success, topping best-seller lists ahead of its Oct. 24 release, but new numbers from Nielsen BookScan (via The BookSeller) put a finer point on just how well it’s doing. The 656-page book has sold around 379,000 383,000 copies in its first week of public availability, according to the BookScan data. Update: The initial data we received was incorrect, and Nielsen contacted us to let us know the book actually sold 4,000 more copies in its first week than initially reported.

That’s better than the next bestselling book, The Litigators by John Grisham. Three times better, in fact. And it already makes the biography the 18th bestselling book of the year. Despite all that success, however, it isn’t a record-breaker, but it is the fastest-selling book since Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth and Decision Points, George W. Bush’s memoir; both sold over 430,000 copies last year during the week ending Nov. 13. Nielsen BookScan uses point-of-sale data from about 12,000 retail locations across the U.S. for print book data, as well as online retailers, and also charts e-book data from “all major e-book retailers.”

I’d hazard a guess that the biography still has higher heights to climb. It is one of the fastest selling U.K. non-fiction books on record as of earlier Wednesday, for instance, with 37,244 copies sold in week one, which is very high for a biography that isn’t self-authored and being actively promoted by the writer/subject themselves. Isaacson’s book is sure to be under a Christmas tree or two this coming holiday, so we’ll see how the upcoming shopping frenzy affects its sales.

  1. Any information on volume of sales of this book on iBooks or Kindle? I sorta figure the iBooks volume may be abnormally high on this one; I know I’m in those numbers.

    1. John, I’d guess we might never see those numbers unless the publisher releases themselves. BookScan is notoriously unreliable when it comes to digital versions.

  2. It might be good to include sales on Audible. I just got the bio from Audible because that is how I consume books. The reader is not great but the bio is fascinating.

  3. Hello, with these posts, I am testing the internet’s ability to help set the record straight when conventional media get it wrong:

    How competition for advertising in print media let Steve Jobs warp history and steal the credit for the computer revolution

    An open letter to Walter Isaacson, the Steve Jobs biographer and channeller-in-chief

  4. @mrfixit42 Looks like it does: http://t.co/TKymLiNk

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