Patterson's e-book plan working

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 6, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — The sales machine that is James Patterson continues in the e-book era.
The Hachette Book Group announced Wednesday that e-book sales for the prolific novelist now top 5 million, with 2 million coming in just the past seven months.
Patterson hit the 1 million mark for e-books in July 2010, making him among the first authors to reach that milestone. Patterson also is thriving on paper. Hachette noted that hardcover and paperback sales for his work in 2011 topped 4.7 million copies, as tracked by Nielsen BookScan, which compiles around 75 percent of the non e-book market.
Patterson publishes several books a year and his best-sellers, many of them written with others, include “Kill Alex Cross” and “Now You See Her.”
Nothing like the original
NEW YORK (AP) — A rare first edition of John James Audubon’s sumptuously illustrated “The Birds of America,” depicting more than 400 life-size North American species in four monumental volumes, is going on the auction block for an estimated $7 million to $10 million.
Considered a masterpiece of ornithology art, the 3 1/2-foot-tall books feature hand-colored prints of all the species known to Audubon in early 19th century America. Audubon insisted on the book’s large format — printed on the largest hand-made sheets available at the time — because of his desire to portray the birds in their actual size and natural habitat.
The set, being sold by the heirs of the 4th Duke of Portland, will be auctioned by Christie’s Jan. 20. It will be accompanied by a complete first edition five-volume set of Audubon’s “Ornithological Biography.” They will be on view at Christie’s Rockefeller Center galleries Jan. 14-19.
Experts estimate that 200 complete first edition copies were produced over an 11-year period, from 1827-1838. Today, 120 are known to exist; 107 are in institutions and 13 in private hands. They consist of 435 hand-colored, life-size prints of 497 bird species, made from engraved copper plates based on Audubon’s original watercolors.
Another complete first edition of “The Birds of America” sold at Sotheby’s in London in December 2010 for $11.5 million, a record for the most expensive printed book sold at auction.
Audubon sold the engraved plates in a subscription series in England, Europe and North America.
“The overall cost to print a set at the time was estimated to be 115,000 pounds sterling, which would be over $2 million today,” said Francis Wahlgren, head of Christie’s books and manuscripts.
That is why Audubon “had to presell to wealthy families with subscriptions to fund the production,” he added.
“It was a kind of status thing. … That’s why many of these wound up in these great English homes,” Wahlgren said.