One more question...

Nat Case ncase at
Fri Jul 27 14:38:44 EDT 2001

Those few I think are read a lot. Conan Doyle I'm sure still sells 
well (well, OK, the Holmes stories sell well, and probably not the 
rest), and I think some of the lighter, kids' Kipling (Jungle Books, 
Just So Stories) also do quite well. The adult Kipling probably less 
so, but I'll bet KIM still does OK, and the poetry.

Twain (especially Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn) and Alcott (at least the 
first couple books) still definitely have a following, and are 
regularly revived in other media, although as you say, there are a 
lot of forced buys (both college and high school).

Dickens is harder to tell, but he is certainly invoked a lot 
(Victorian Christmas Bazaars, et al). And A Christmas Carol gets 
trundled out every year. I suspect these are all excellent backlist 
titles for the publishers like Penguin who maintain a "classics" 
list. Probably list leaders, even. And they don't have to pay 
royalties or promotional budgets...

On the other hand, how many of the copies of these that are read are 
new purchases? There are so many copies of THe Collected Sherlock 
Holmes out there, or Dickens, that I'll bet many or most of the reads 
are made of older copies.

All speculation, of course. Anyone know anything about real figures 
on 100+-year-old book sales?

At 12:22 PM -0600 7/27/01, Jacob Proffitt wrote:
>Right.  How popular are they, really?  How many novels have Kipling, 
>Doyle, Twain, Alcott and Dickens sold in the last year.  How many 
>English speaking people could tell you the story of any of those 
>authors?  I could summarize one from each author, but then, I have a 
>more or less traditional English degree.  How many people would know 
>any of those names if you take out forced buys by college students? 
>I suspect that even the college student purchases have been dropping 
>as the idea of canon is reviewed.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Nat Case [mailto:ncase at]
>Sent: Friday, July 27, 2001 12:12 PM
>To: dwj at
>Cc: Jacob Proffitt
>Subject: RE: One more question...
>At 11:34 AM -0600 7/27/01, Jacob Proffitt wrote:
>>Interesting.  I'm wondering if any Victorian authors are popular any more. 
>Dickens, who to many casual readers IS Victorian literature...
>Conan Doyle is probably more Edwardian, as is Kipling.
>Twain is Victorian American, as is Alcott.
>Nat Case
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