Sunday, August 26, 2007

Influx Insights, Louis L'Amour

You should be on the lookout for some of our new blog posts over at Influx Insights. We’ve worked out a deal where they’ll host them exclusively for a few days before they head over here to hang out with their less well distributed friends.

I’m posting via satellite uplink from the wilds of the Rocky Mountains. I’m on a ranch outside Granby, Colorado, home of a bulldozer attack in June 2004, among other things. Today, we went for a hike in the Arapaho National Recreation Area. After zigzagging on a rocky path through scraggly lodgepole pines for a good hour, we broke out onto a beautiful meadow at about 9000 feet, which hid a lake covered in lily pads. It was dramatically western. I found myself narrating, “As Sheriff Madrigal’s boots clinked through the grass...” I also had many visions of having a horse.

That meadow sent me into Louis L’Amour mode. When I was about 10, my fur-coat-in-the-summer Mexican grandma had a boyfriend about 25 years her junior. He was a mountain man who owned guns, fishing poles, and cowboy literature. I used him as a lending library and borrowed about 30 novels over a couple of months.

As I stood in the meadow, I realized how strange it was that this random consumer, who told me himself that he never read other books, had this fine Louis L’Amour collection. If Louis had reached that old dog, he probably was a very popular author. I got to wondering how hestacked up in commercial terms.

Here’s a very incomplete and mildly accurate list of best selling authors quickly compiled via this Wikipedia page and some clever Googling (“* million copies sold” etc):


Copies Sold

Agatha Cristie

2 billion

Jin Yong

1 billion

Danielle Steel

550 million

JK Rowling

500 million?

Enid Blyton

400 million

RL Stine

400 million

Richard Scarry

300 million

Louis L'Amour

270 million

CS Lewis

100 million

P.S. Check out the flickr page for the image above. It's called the ubiquitous printed word.

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