No Easy Day Bumps Fifty Shades From Top Spot

Book buyers make war, not love

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All’s fair in love and war—and that goes for books too.

It’s no surprise that the notorious Navy SEAL memoir No Easy Day—the tell-all about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, by Mark Owen (real name Matt Bissonnette)—is a bestseller. The amount of media attention devoted to the book encouraged its publisher to move its release date up a week to Sept. 4 from Sept. 11. It had already earned the top spot on Amazon’s book sales list by the end of August. But now the book everyone was already talking about has actually been available for long enough for it to make non-presales lists.

And the results were as expected: No Easy Day is still a bestseller.

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Last week, No Easy Day was counted on the USA Today best-selling books list, which counts both fiction and nonfiction. It bumped Fifty Shades of Grey from the top spot. USA Today also reports that the print run, which was originally set at 300,000 copies, was increased to 575,000. Interestingly, e-books of the memoir are not selling as well as hardcover copies. On that list, Fifty Shades of Grey dropped to number two (with the rest of the trilogy at three and four); still, E.L. James’ record is safe with 20 weeks at number one, with the next runner up, The Hunger Games, only holding that spot for 17 weeks.

But even though USA Today couldn’t get a sales figure from the book’s publisher, Dutton, Publisher’s Weekly reports that No Easy Day sold 253,000 hard copies in one week. That may even be a low estimate: the figure is according to Nielsen BookScan, which takes point-of-sale data from about 12,000 brick-and-mortar and web locations in the U.S. but does not include Walmart. Regardless, that 200,000+ figure was, according to PW, almost three times the sales figures for Fifty Shades of Grey during the same week. On the Nielsen chart, Fifty Shades had ruled since April 22.

On the New York Times best sellers list for Sept. 23 (which counts sales through Sept. 8), No Easy Day debuted at number one in hardcover nonfiction. In this case, fiction and nonfiction are separated, so you can’t compare the SEAL book to the S&M book—but at this point you hardly need to see a chart to guess what it would say.

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