Talking about debuts and warm fuzzies, the New York Times has the story of how a privately published book about a grieving father meeting God -- in the form of a jolly African-American woman -- became a surprise bestseller. Apparently, it was by word of mouth alone, yet people buy it by the carton! Taken over by Hachette after the word got around, The Shack is now being publicized in places like the NY subway. And perfectly logical, too -- the NY subway in a heatwave is a place where thousands of people desperately want and need a word of spiritual hope.
And note: the story qualifies the number of reported sales witht the admission that they come from Nielson Bookscan, which tracks only "about 70 per cent of sales." So the bestseller lists are not reliable over there, either, it seems. That The Shack is a phenomenon is undeniable, nonetheless.