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Briefer bumps Trouble from #1 bestseller spot (after a month)

  1. Oct 19, 2006 #1

    marcus

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    Today at noon AFAIK for the first time in a month (since around 15 September) Smolin's book TTWP was not top bestseller on the Amazon physics list.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/14545/ref=pd_ts_b_ldr/102-1454980-4598542

    The Trouble with Physics was supplanted by Stephen Hawking's A Briefer History of Time
    http://www.amazon.com/Briefer-Histo...pd_ts_b_1/002-1987816-1968818?ie=UTF8&s=books
    the hardcover edition by Bantam, which came out in September 2005.
     
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  3. Oct 20, 2006 #2

    mathman

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    Today (Oct. 20, 2006) Brian Greene has an op-ed piece in the NY Times justifiying continuing effort to develop string theory.
     
  4. Oct 20, 2006 #3

    marcus

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    thanks, mathman. I see the link is
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/20/opinion/20greenehed.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

    and just printed it off.

    at the end it mentions his two books "Elegant" and "Fabric". Perhaps we will se a rise in their standing on the amazon physics list (which is already pretty high:smile: )

    =============
    EDIT actually as an afterthought we could watch for a blip. As of 4 PM today (20 Oct) pacific time the average standing of the 5 most popular string-oriented books on that list was 16. Let's see if it rises some in the next few days.
    The 5, and their respective ranks on the Amazon physics list, were:

    Greene Elegant 9
    Kaku Parallel Worlds 10
    Greene Fabric 14
    Greene Elegant 15
    Kaku Hyperspace 32

    (paperback unless underlined to show the hardcover edition)
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2006
  5. Oct 21, 2006 #4

    marcus

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    Perhaps I should wait for 4PM to look at that index but I got impatient and checked it as of 11 AM pacific time today (21 October) and it was 19.4

    the 5 most popular string-oriented books on the Amazon list (with ranks) were

    Greene Elegant 11
    Greene Fabric 15
    Kaku Parallel Worlds 21
    Randall Warped Passages 23
    Randall Warped Passages 27

    underlining indicates the hardbound edition

    Later today, at 4 PM pacific, the average was even higher: 13.6.

    the 5 most popular stringy books (and their ranks) were

    Greene Elegant 6
    Greene Fabric 9
    Kaku Parallel Worlds 10
    Randall Warped Passages 20
    Randall Warped Passages 23
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2006
  6. Oct 21, 2006 #5
    Forgive me for asking but what is the relevance to which popular science books is on the number one list? :confused:
     
  7. Oct 21, 2006 #6

    marcus

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    No problem!

    I think it indicates something about the reading public---what sort of books people are reading (general audience, not specialist).

    Actually if you are really interested in the reading public's perception of science, especially physics, you should probably scan over the whole amazon list. I think public perception of science is an integral part of the culture that supports science---there is more to say about this, if you are interested.

    I find it fascinating. maybe you would too. have a look :smile:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/14545/ref=pd_ts_b_ldr/102-1454980-4598542
    =================

    Oh btw there are other reasons. I've discovered that book publishers seldom report how many copies of a given book they have sold.
    One can however make rough guesses as to the quantity of copies out there by keeping track of the amazon lists. I don't want to get into that unless you are especially interested, though.

    thanks for the question Jennifer :smile:
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2006
  8. Oct 22, 2006 #7

    marcus

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    the reading public's response to the recent books and reviews in the media---all that stuff seems to have concerned some people at KITP, who have taken George Johnson in as "journalist in residence" and are having him explain the situation and advise them----there was a fascinating 1 hour talk he gave 20 October which is available as video.

    thanks to Peter Woit for flagging it
    http://online.itp.ucsb.edu/online/resident/johnson2/

    I would actually recommend downloading it, if you can, rather than streaming, because then you have the Quicktime movie on your desktop (or whatever the appropriate format) and it does bear repeat viewing.
    Interesting questions and comments from David Gross, Amanda Peet, and I think maybe Jim Hartle, and several others.

    =================

    to continue gauging the reading public response, as of Sunday 22 October at 7 AM (after the NYT OP-ED piece by Brian Greene, and several days of seemingly heightened buyer interest in stringy books) the Smolin book was back as #1 physics bestseller.

    1. TwP
    2. Hawking Briefer
    3. Greene Elegant
    ...

    the Greene book at #3 was the highest I have seen it in many weeks.
    and the index (average rank of 5 most popular) was 15.8. In my rough estimation, this is comparatively high. A week or so ago it was fluctuating around 20-some IIRC. the generally high interest in string-oriented books is in line, I think, with Greene's Elegant rising to #3 spot.
    =============

    I suppose it could be that interest in string popularization and also in Smolin and Woit's discussion from a different perspective actually RE-INFORCE each other by stirring up interest! From the point of view of journalism and selling books, it is NOT ZERO SUM. I am not sure about this, certainly, and all I can do is watch the few meager indicators I have, unless someone can suggest some other sources of information.
    ===================
    here is the average rank of the 5 most popular stringy books on the Amazon physics list for the past three days. always sampling at the same time, 4 PM pacific. I think there may have been a spike in sales right after Brian Greene's OP-ED piece (that mathman mentioned above). the op-ed piece did not mention Smolin or Woit and did not give their book titles---rather it discussed issues in general terms. But it made the case for continuing to favor string research and it gave the titles of two of Greene's books "Elegant" and "Fabric".
    20 October 4 PM 16.0
    21 October 4 PM 13.6
    22 October 4 PM 21.8
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2006
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