The Goodbye Guys


By Kathryn Comment‘s gambit for publicity pays off: The Book Standard turns its attention to Lulu’s “new study” predicting the upcoming extinction of male-written bestsellers.

From’s press release:

July 20, 2005 (Raleigh, N.C.) — Bestselling novels by male authors like Dan Brown and Stephen King are heading for extinction, according to a new study which reveals that writers like J.K. Rowling and Danielle Steel have helped women double their share of #1 bestsellers over the last 20 years.

The study of the 354 novels to have topped the hardback fiction section of the world-famous New York Times Bestseller List during the 50 years from 1955-2004 was conducted by Lulu ( [ed’s note — even taking into account the rhetorical customs of press releases, this moment of talking-about-myself-in-the-third-person feels particularly icky], a website that lets anyone publish their own book and sell it on the Net.

The female share of #1 bestsellers over the first decade of the study (1955-1964) was 17.8%, and still just 23.8% as recently as the 1980s — compared to 46% over the last decade (1995-2004); and 50% so far this year.

The press release, unlike The Book Standard‘s summary, also includes this helpful tampax-ad-or-rebirth-of-the-messiah? timeline:


Previous studies by — and there’s been many — have projected 50 as “the best age to write a bestseller” — here’s the chart for that one —


— and 2052 as the year of “Authorgeddon”, a fate that, as “the world’s fastest growing provider of print-on-demand books,” is probably happier about than the skull-and-cross-bones clip art suggests: