The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Domain


Ice and Fire in 2011

Thanks to @olafkeith, we were pointed to the fact that some end-of-year information had come out for the publishing industry… and as it happens, “A Song of Ice and Fire” left its mark on the lists on both sides of the Atlantic.

First up, Publisher’s Weekly recaps 2011 in the US market. When discussing how long paperbacks stayed on their bestseller list, this is what they had to say:

“It was a hard scramble to get to double digits in this category unless your name was George R.R. Martin. Four of his books did just that.”

We certainly saw signs of that over the year, with the re-releases of the paperbacks hitting various charts at various points in the year. In their overall list of longest-running bestsellers, A Dance with Dragon was #3 on the hardcover fiction list, while A Game of Thrones, A Storm of Swords, A Clash of Kings, and A Feast for Crows took the #1 (9 months in the top 15!), #3, #4, and #6 positions on the mass market paperback list. Quite the performance! PW sums it up:

“Still, a new player’s achievement is even more noteworthy. The five books of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series, A Song of Fire and Ice, were all on PW’s “Longest-Running Bestseller” chart. The newest hardcover, A Dance with Dragons, had a 19-week run, and the four earlier books made the mass market longest running group with a total of 99 weeks.”


The second item covers the UK, thanks to this Guardian Datablog report. This one’s endlessly fascinating because it reveals figures that just don’t go out to the public in the US: exact sales figures according to Nielsen’s Bookscan. So, what’s the score? By volume, A Game of Thrones was the #13th best-selling book in the UK, in all-categories. That’s 255,726 copies actually sold, with a value of just shy of £1.5 million pounds (about $2.3 million).

And if that’s not enough, A Clash of Kings is on the Top 100 sellers by volume chart at #76, with 141,212 sold and £795,421 in value.

Finally, what about A Dance with Dragons? If you download the full data sheet, we get hardcover fiction figures as well, and the latest entry in the A Song of Ice and Fire series is #6 overall with 86,712 copies sold and a value of £1.2 million ($1.85 million). In fact, looking at it by value, it’s the #3 highest grossing hardcover in the UK of 2011.

These are quite impressive numbers… and given the size of the US market being approximately 5-6 times as large, as was viewership of HBO’s Game of Thrones, we can imagine even greater numbers sold in the states. We wouldn’t put it out of reach for the re-release of A Game of Thrones to have pushed a million or more copies, in fact.