Barnes & Noble Throws a Gauntlet at David Sedaris; Says His New Book is Fiction (UPDATED)

%name Barnes & Noble Throws a Gauntlet at David Sedaris; Says His New Book is Fiction (UPDATED)David Sedaris insisted last week that his essays, which are famously full of embellishments, should be filed under non-fiction because only about 3% of what he writes is untrue. "I’ve always been a huge exaggerator,"he said in an online Q&A on Time‘s Web site, "but when I write something, I put it on a scale. And if it’s 97% true, I think that’s true enough. I’m not going to call it fiction because 3% of it isn’t true."

Apparently Barnes & Noble doesn’t care what Mr. Sedaris thinks: an official chart distributed to publishers that shows sales figures for the week ending 06/23 defiantly has Mr. Sedaris’s new book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, listed under "Adult Fiction Hardcover." With 22,279 copies sold, it’s number one with a bullet.

Ouch, though! Still, ouch.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for B&N called yesterday to say that though Engulfed in Flames was classified as "fiction" in the bestseller list they send to publishers, they nevertheless consider the book non-fiction. (Someone told New York the same thing.) The reason it appeared in fiction is that on their Web site, B&N considers all essay collections fiction. As Tom Burke, excutive vice president of e-commerce for Barnes & Noble.com, explains: "Our bookstores merchandise the title in the Essay section of our Literature category. Online at Barnes & Noble.com, we classify literary essays, both fiction and nonfiction, under the general category of Fiction & Literature."

Well, OK. Except, some might say that makes no sense!

For what it’s worth, this week’s Bookscan has Engulfed in Flames under non-fiction. The book registered 77,000 copies sold (which means the actual number is somewhat higher), making it the bestselling hardcover, in fiction and in non-fiction, of the week.

Article continues below
More from Politics
Former Mayor David Dinkins, the city's first black mayor, before the Black Agency Executive's Dr. Martin Luther King celebration.
David Dinkins Claims Donald Trump Won Rudolph Giuliani Over By Taking His Son Golfing