As it prepares to ship its second volume of Philip K. Dick novels, Five Novels of the 1960s and 1970s, the Library of America has told GalleyCat that the the first volume, Four Novels of the 1960s, is the fastest-selling title in the LoA canon and the new book is on track to match that success:
The first PKD volume, published last year, shipped 23,750 copies with an exceptionally low 5 percent return rate, GalleyCat notes:
But how does Dick stand up against the heavy hitters of American letters? The LOA’s first collection of Jack Kerouac novels shipped just under 15,000 copies in its first year, with a return rate of 10 percent. The two-volume collection of Edmund Wilson’s critical writings from the 1920s to the 1940s shipped a combined total of 9,250 copies, with returns at 12 percent. And the American Poetry: The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries anthology clocked in at just under 4,200 copies shipped (8 percent returns).
I wonder what PKD would have said, back when he was cranking out novels just to keep himself solvent, that someday his work would be paying the fare for Edmund Wilson and Jack Kerouac?
The GalleyCat blogger suggests that a volume of early Kurt Vonnegut works would be just the thing for the LoA catalogue. Funny, I had the same idea just recently. In fact, I’ve made three batches of suggestions for the LoA: starting with Chester Himes, Charles Portis, Iceberg Slim, Walter Tevis and Robert Silverberg, continuing with Charles Bukowski, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert E. Howard, John D. MacDonald and Susan Sontag, then adding Upton Sinclair, Patricia Highsmith and Frederick Manfred.
I’ve got another batch coming up before too long.