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This story first appeared in the Feb. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
How much is an Oscar nom worth? To booksellers, not much. Five of the nine best picture nominees (American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave and Captain Phillips) are based on books, but the Oscar stamp has done little to boost sales. Wolf, Philomena, A Captain’s Duty (the source for Phillips) and The Sting Man (Hustle) haven’t cracked Amazon’s top 200. Only Slave has seen a bump; factoring in all editions (the 161-year-old memoir is in the public domain), Solomon Northup is the 42nd-best-selling author on Amazon, ahead of Malcolm Gladwell.
After the nominations, Slave jumped to No. 3 on The Wall Street Journal‘s e-book list. Just ahead of it is Lone Survivor, not a best picture nominee but clearly the season’s winner. The 2007 best-seller re-entered the WSJ list ahead of the movie’s Dec. 25 release and spent three weeks at No. 1. Sales of both have been fueled by e-books priced below other nominees: $3.99 for Lone Survivor, 99 cents for Slave. Slave director Steve McQueen says it has “sold more in the past six months than in the past 150 years combined.”
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