Vonnegut Beats Mailer in Posthumous Sales

No writer was more competitive, or ambitious, than Norman Mailer. But if sales are the measure of the public’s mind, then honors clearly belong to Kurt Vonnegut, according to the Associated Press.

According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of industry sales, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five has sold about 280,000 copies since 2006, more than four times the combined pace of six of the most talked about books of the past 60 years: Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead, The Armies of the Night and The Executioner’s Song, and William Styron’s The Confessions of Nat Turner, Sophie’s Choice and Darkness Visible.

While Vonnegut’s passing last April led to a significant jump in sales for his books, the change was far smaller for the works of Mailer and Styron, both of whom, unlike Vonnegut, won Pulitzer Prizes.