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'Fifty Shades,' 'Games' dominate best sellers of 2012

7:51 PM, Jan 16, 2013   |    comments
Photo Courtesy Of Lions Gate Films Inc.
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By Bob Minzesheimer
USA TODAY

If publishers want to imitate and build on the best sellers of 2012, they might consider a new kind of literary mash-up: erotic dystopian fiction.

Two dissimilar trilogies - E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey, an adult bondage romance, and Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, starring and aimed at teens and set in a future dictatorship - dominated USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list for the year.

STORY: Authors James, Collins and Kinney had a big 2012

LIST: 100 best-selling books of 2012

James and Collins swept the top six slots among 2012's 100 top-selling titles.

At No. 1 for the year is James' first book, Fifty Shades of Grey, a word-of-mouth sensation that grew into a publishing phenomenon. It was initially published in Australia in 2011 and released in the USA by Random House as an e-book in March and in paperback in April.

But at No. 2, thanks to Hollywood, is The Hunger Games, the first book in Collins' trilogy - four years after it was published. It got a big boost from the hit movie, starring Jennifer Lawrence, released in March. James' other books are Nos. 3 and 4, followed by Collins at Nos. 5 and 6 for the year.

Adding the box sets of their trilogies, James and Collins account for 25% of the sales tracked each week by USA TODAY. They helped make it another big year for fiction - 77% of the titles on the list each week were novels, nearly as high as the book list record 78% in 2011.

James alone had a record share: 13.4% of sales tracked. That's more than Stephenie Meyer's (Twilight) 12.5% in 2008 and J.K. Rowling's (Harry Potter) 11.3% in 2000.

James broke another record: 20 consecutive weeks at No. 1. She passes Collins, whose 17-week streak ended in April.

In a year when the news was dominated by the presidential election and the struggling economy, publishers had a tough time attracting attention for non-fiction. The most popular non-fiction title, at No. 12, is No Easy Day by Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer, an inside account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

USA TODAY's list is a ranking of titles selling well each week at a broad range of retail outlets and reflects combined sales of titles in print and digital format, if available. The list began in October 1993.

Contributing: Anthony DeBarros

USA TODAY

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