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Category: bestsellers

'50 Shades of Grey' series hitting the 20 million mark in sales

"Fifty Shades of Grey"Who would have guessed that an erotica series would becoming the biggest book juggernaut since "Harry Potter"?

That's what things are looking like. This week, E.L. James'  "50 Shades of Grey" and its sequels, "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed" are poised to cross the 20 million mark in U.S. sales. As of July 2, publisher Vintage had tallied sales of the series at 19.4 million. Vintage brought the series to shelves in April; originally published by a small press in Australia, the book had already become an underground hit. The Wall Street Journal reports on the book's massive popularity:

By comparison, Stieg Larsson's best-selling "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy took more than three years to reach the 20-million sales mark in the U.S. Those three books were released in the U.S. in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

In the U.S., sales have been split nearly evenly between physical and digital versions, with 9.8 million paperbacks sold through July 2, compared with 9.6 million e-books during the same period, Vintage says.

"50 Shades of Grey" tells the story of virginal college student Anastasia and Christian Grey, the billionaire entrepreneur who takes an interest in her. They soon develop a sexual relationship that gets kinky -- the bondage-y content is part of what has been keeping sales hot. Vintage says the series has brought in $145 million in revenue.

Nielsen's BookScan numbers show that in the spring, the "50 Shades of Grey" series accounted for 20% of adult fiction sold (that's print books, not e-books). BookScan tracks about 75% of the retail American book market, and it misses a lot of independent bookstores -- where, presumably, people may be reading headier stuff than the sexually explicit series. However, the "50 Shades" series has been at the No. 1, 2, and 3 spots on our paperback bestsellers list, which includes local independents, since its publication in April.

Film rights were sold to Universal and Focus Features, which will have to figure out how to make the explicit text -- which some have called "mommy porn" -- suitable for American viewing audiences.


The origins of '50 Shades of Grey' go missing

Bestselling "mommy porn": "50 Shades of Grey"

On Goodreads, '50 Shades of Grey' is a regional hit

-- Carolyn Kellogg



Amazon categorizes Rodney King's memoir as 'criminal biography'

After Rodney King's unexpected death this weekend at the age of 47, his recent book began climbing the charts. In April, HarperOne published King's memoir, "The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption."

King, who was found dead in his swimming pool Sunday morning, was a central figure in one of the most troubled periods in L.A.'s recent history. In 1991, he was pulled over for speeding and police officers were videotaped beating King. The widely-viewed video caused an uproar; when four Los Angeles police officers were tried and found not guilty in April 1992, the anger over the verdict erupted into six days of violence. On Day 3 of the riots, King appeared at a news conference calling for calm, asking: "Can we all get along?"

Being in the spotlight and becoming a lightning rod for civil rights issues was not an easy role for King, who struggled with substance abuse. In the years after the riots, he had a number of run-ins with the law, which included crashing his car in 2003 while driving under the influence. He appeared on the television series "Celebrity Rehab," and wrote about his addiction and recovery in his book "The Riot Within."

Sunday morning, before the news of his death had spread, the book was not a huge seller. On Amazon, it ranked  No. 246,505. By 2:45 p.m. that day, it had leapt up past more than 200,000 other books, to No. 1669.

That didn't make it a bestseller. Amazon's bestseller list includes just 100 books, an echelon that King's memoir did not reach. However, Amazon has many subcategories, each of which feed into the overall list. A book that doesn't make it into the top 100 may appear in one or more subcategories.

Once "The Riot Within" ranked  No. 1669, it had surfaced in three subcategories, or you might call them sub-sub-subcategories. It was No. 6 in "Books > Biography and Memoir > Regional US > West"; No. 17 in "Books > Biography and Memoir > Ethnic & National > African-American & Black"; and No. 7 in "Books > Biography and Memoir > Specific Groups > Criminals."

Certainly, King was of the West, and he was African American. But does "The Riot Within" constitute a  "criminal biography"?

The other bestselling books on Amazon's top "Criminal biographies" list are two books about serial killers, two mob memoirs, and the memoir of "the world's most-wanted hacker." Does King's book about his addiction and recovery belong there?

Whether it did or not, it continued to climb. It reached No. 5 in the category at 4 p.m., where it stayed until Monday morning, when it bumped up to No. 4. That was when the book peaked, reaching No. 388 overall on Amazon -- after starting at No. 246,505 about 24 hours before. As of Monday afternoon, it was bobbing down below No. 500.

It's true, King committed criminal offenses, but his book was about addiction and redemption. There are other books that cover similar arcs that appear in the dozens of sub-sub-sub-categories that are not categorized as "criminal." Gregg Allman was arrested on federal drug charges and went to rehab 11 times; his memoir "My Cross to Bear" is No. 13 in "Books > Biography and Memoir > Memoir." Laura Hillenbrand's biography "Unbroken," about Louis Zamperini, the Olympic runner and war hero, recounts his years as a teenage delinquent; it's No. 1 in "Books > History > Military > World War II." Luis Rodriguez's "Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A." is also in "Biography and Memoir > Regional US > West" and appears in "Politics & Social Sciences > Crime & Criminals > Gangs," but it is not ranked as a "criminal biography."

Why Rodney King's memoir "The Riot Within" is classified as "criminal biography" is mysterious. And Amazon did not respond to our requests for comment.


Rodney King, dead at 47: "I was one of the lucky ones"

Book review: "Power Concedes Nothing" by Connie Rice

Rodney King and the L.A. Riots: when 20 years can seem like yesterday

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: In March 2012, Rodney King looks at a photograph of his news conference on Day 3 of the 1992 L.A. riots. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Interview: Richelle Mead on 'The Golden Lily,' vampires and alchemists

Richelle Mead Photo Credit Malcolm Smith PhotographyWhen Richelle Mead wrapped up her bestselling "Vampire Academy" series in 2010, some die-hard fans wanted it to go on forever. But Mead decided on a different tack: She launched a spin-off that picked up where "Last Sacrifice" left off, centering a new series on an alchemist named Sydney who is tasked with protecting a vampire princess. We caught up with the 35-year-old author, and new mom, to talk about "The Golden Lily," the second installment in her six-book "Bloodlines" series, published Tuesday. Mead is currently on tour and will stop at Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica on June 18.

Jacket Copy: Did you worry about alienating "Vampire Academy" fans with a lead character in the new series who isn't especially fond of bloodsuckers?

GoldenLilyRichelle Mead: Sydney is interacting with vampires so much, it's hard to get away from them. But part of this series is looking at the human aspect of the supernatural. In the first series, the narrator was a half vampire, and you were looking at the vampire world from inside out. Sydney lets us look from outside in. To see it through human eyes gives you a different perspective. Things you thought were normal in the first series aren't.

J.C.: The way you kept the two series connected was to import minor characters from "Vampire Academy." What was it about the chemistry between Sydney, Jill, Eddie and Adrian that made you bring them together? And why, in "The Golden Lily," are you adding Dimitri and Angeline to the mix?

R.M.: The stories of these four characters were left incomplete at the end of the first series, by design. All four of them have something startling happen to them, and it was all directly or indirectly a result of Rose, the narrator of the first series. They had these big shocking life changes they're trying to cope with now, so that's how I put them together. As far as Angeline and Dimitri showing up, I knew they were fan favorites. I told people when I wrote the spinoff, I wasn't going to abandon old characters. We'll just see them in the periphery as opposed to the main focus.

BloodlinesJ.C.: You live in one of the rainiest cities in the U.S. -- Seattle -- so it's funny that you've set the new series in sunny Palm Springs, but there's another reason, too?

R.M.: The premise of the "Bloodlines" series is they're trying to hide this vampire princess, and they've pretty much chosen the last place anyone would look for a vampire because it's so sunny, so that is by design. It's tricky for her because it's not a particularly pleasant place for her to be. She's in high school, and trying to do mundane things like P.E. outside is strenuous because the sun makes her sick.

J.C.: Palm Springs also sets your vampires apart from the "Twilight" series in rainy Forks, Wash.

R.M.: There is that desire to stay away from that. All the vampire books out there are so different. It's good to throw in some different things.

LastsacrificeJ.C.: I'm sure you're asked this all the time, but why are vampires so popular?

R.M.: I do get asked this all the time, and I would think by now I would have an answer. I don't know. People have always had a fascination with the supernatural going back to the beginning of time and with vampires in particular. This phenomenon is not new. When I was in high school, it was Anne Rice. Go back farther, and it was Bela Lugosi and Bram Stoker. People like vampires because they're kind of human like, but they're still sort of dangerous and supernatural, so maybe it's a relatable mix. I'm not sure. It's something I would like the answer to as well.

J.C.: You started "Vampire Academy" well before Stephenie Meyer and "Twilight" became household names. Has the success of that series been a help or a hindrance?

R.M.: It's definitely helped. People really want to set up these rivalries because there's a lot of vampire books out there. People want to believe we're all fierce rivals, and really there's just so much camaraderie with authors. Everyone kind of boosts each other. If readers like one vampire book, they'll want to read more, so "Twilight" kicked it off, and it's really helped my series, but I like to think it's more than it being just a vampire book. I like to think it's the characters and stories that appeal to readers.

J.C.: How would you describe the new series' core story?

R.M.: It's a couple different things. One part is the love story. It's a slow burn, so we'll see things progress. Another part is about questioning what you're told. The people Sydney works for have a lot of rules. There's a lot of dogma, and they tell her: This is what vampires are like. This is what these people are like. There's this idea of overcoming prejudice to see things for yourself and ultimately making your own choices. Sydney's working to find her own voice in this series.

J.C.: As a reviewer, it's so great to see such strong female role models in teen fiction.

R.M.: You're absolutely right. It's a great thing to see in books. It's definitely something that's always been important to me. What's fun about "Bloodlines" is it's a different kind of strength we're seeing in a young woman. Rose was obviously strong physically and getting into fights and punching her enemies. She was literally a strong, fierce woman. Sydney is quieter. It's an intellectual strength, and I think that's important to show, too. There's a lot of ways to assert yourself and be a strong person.

J.C.: You're a new mother. How has that impacted your work and creativity?

R.M.: It certainly affects the 9 to 5 schedule. I've had to manage my time better. As far as writing style, I think I'm a little less dark. There's still plenty of that. Don't get me wrong. It hasn't all become rainbows and unicorns, but babies just make you hope for some better things in the world, so there's a little more optimism.

J.C.: Where does film interest stand in the "Vampire Academy" and "Bloodlines" series?

R.M.: There's a lot of rumors. Nothing with "Bloodlines" at all. There's a production company shopping "Vampire Academy" around, so I think that's where the confusion comes from because it sounds more promising than it is. They need to get a studio on board.


"Gilt" review

"Fated" review

"Devine Intervention" review

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo: Richelle Mead; "The Golden Lily," "Bloodlines" and "Last Sacrifice" book jackets. Credit: Malcolm Smith Photography; Penguin Group

On Goodreads, '50 Shades of Grey' is a regional hit

According to data at Goodreads, Utah and Wyoming readers were the least likely to be checking out the underground erotic hit "Fifty Shades of Grey"
Mothers in Utah who might have found news of the popularity of the underground erotic hit "Fifty Shades of Grey" baffling can be forgiven, according to the data at Goodreads. Among the social reading website's 8.6 million users, Utah and Wyoming readers were the least likely to be reading E.L. James' novel.

The graphic above shows which states have most embraced the book, which the New York Times dubbed "mommy porn." The novel tells the story of a love affair between naive college student Anastasia and Christian, a billionaire with a taste for sexual dominance.

In the first six weeks the book has been available through new American publisher Vintage, "Fifty Shades of Grey" has sold 10 million copies. To put that in perspective, the president of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group explained that the book had captured 25% of the adult fiction market -- quite a lot. And there are even more books in circulation -- "Fifty Shades of Grey" was a word-of-mouth hit via a small Australian publisher before Vintage picked it up.

More than 11,000 Goodreads members have written capsule reviews of the book on the site. Though the three most popular only have one star, that hasn't stopped legions from being tempted by the book. A popular five-star review reads, "Wow. Wow, wow, wow. I still feel somewhat under the spell of this book. I'm so ... beguiled by it ;-) (book allusion). It was honestly an amazing read -- and one which I meant to just skim a few sample pages of, but ended up buying and then staying up the entire night to finish."

Among Goodreads members, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is most popular in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and New York. Except "most popular" isn't exactly it -- those are the states where the book is most likely to have been read. Yet those readers are not as enthusiastic about the book as their counterparts to the south and west -- readers in Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Nebraska gave the book its highest ratings.

That enthusiasm has carried over: Goodreads has a list of other erotica titles that are starting to take the site by storm.


The deluxe mommy-porn apartment in the sky

Bestselling "mommy porn": "50 Shades of Grey"

Porn-ish "50 Shades of Grey" grinds toward movie deal

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Image credit: Goodreads

The deluxe mommy-porn apartment in the sky

E.L. James' novel "50 Shades of Grey" has gone from an underground hit to a major national bestseller on the power of its kinky sex. Much of the fictional sex between billionaire Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steel took place in Grey's luxury apartment, set in the real-life Escala Building in Seattle.

On its blog, the real estate site Zillow takes a look inside those condos, in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood. There are high ceilings, huge windows and incredible views from the terraces. The units, which can be custom outfitted, sell for $400,000, going up to $4- to $6 million and more. Because 70% of them have sold -- and because of the interest generated by "50 Shades of Grey" -- the condos are now shown by appointment only. Zillow writes:

While author James did take some creative liberties with her fiction — you can’t land a helicopter on the penthouse roof like it was done in the book, says Escala’s Director of Sales Erik Mehr — he agrees that the Escala is still the best pick for a billionaire character like Grey.

“If you were going to pick something opulent,” Mehr said, “This would be the building.”

James uses the word "opulent" only once -- to describe a couch, not an apartment, but close enough. Luxurious digs may get some people exited, but here at Jacket Copy, we think being wooed by a $14,000 rare book is truly thrilling.


Bestselling "mommy porn": "50 Shades of Grey"

Porn-ish "50 Shades of Grey" grinds toward movie deal

Mike McGrady, the man behind sexy, '60s literary hoax, has died

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: The Escala Building. Credit: Zillow.com

LéaLA celebrates Spanish-language books this weekend

Leala2Here’s a trick question (at least for non-Spanish speakers): What’s North America’s most book-loving city? New York? Los Angeles? Toronto?

A good case could be made for awarding the bibliophiles’ prize to Guadalajara, a metropolis that many U.S. tourists associate only with mariachis and tequila.

The beautiful baroque-colonial city, Mexico’s second-largest, annually hosts what is reputed to be the largest book fair in the northern half of the Western Hemisphere. Formally known as La Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara, or FIL, the yearly convocation draws tens of thousands of visitors as well as hundreds of the world’s preeminent Spanish-language authors, from Barcelona to Buenos Aires.

This weekend, Angelenos will be flocking to the 2nd annual edition of  LéaLA, Feria del Libro en Español de Los Ángeles, a kind of scaled-down version of Guadalajara’s massive book festival, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Backed by the University of Guadalajara, and free and open to public, LéaLA aims to promote Spanish-language and Spanish-translated literature through book publishers’ sales-displays and readings and talks by distinguished authors.

Simultaneously, the festival is intended to bolster a growing cultural connection between Southern California’s enormous Mexican American/Latino population and Guadalajara, capital of Jalisco, the ancestral home of more L.A. Latinos than any other Mexican state.

Finally, LéaLA attempts to help make amends for a bizarre L.A. cultural phenomenon: the city’s near-absence of Spanish-language bookstores. Apart from public libraries, university bookstores (which stock course-related titles) and a handful of small shops like Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in Sylmar and the Libros Schmibros bookstore/lending library in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles -- with the United States’ largest Spanish-speaking population -- has virtually no place to find and buy Spanish-language books.

In only its second year, LéaLA already has become one of the largest Spanish-language book-related events in the United States. Last year it drew 36,000 people to its inaugural edition. This year, with 200 individual exhibition stalls, up from 84 last year, and four times as much total floor space, festival organizers expect an even larger turnout.

Among the boldface names at this year’s festival, which runs through Sunday, are the best-selling Mexican-Spanish writer and novelist Paco Ignacio Taibo II, crime writer James Ellroy, the Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal and Mexican political analyst and intellectual Enrique Krauze.

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Maurice Sendak, author of 'Where the Wild Things Are,' dies at 83

Maurice Sendak
Maurice Sendak, the children's book illustrator and author whose unsentimental approach to storytelling revolutionized the genre and whose best-known tale was the dark fantasy “Where the Wild Things Are,” has died. He was 83.

Sendak, who also was a set designer for opera and film, died Tuesday at a hospital in Danbury, Conn., his friend and caretaker Lynn Caponera said. He had suffered a stroke on Friday, she said.

He had already been proclaimed “the Picasso of children's books” by Time magazine when, in his 30s, he wrote and illustrated “Where the Wild Things Are.” It became one of the 10 bestselling children's books of all time.

The work, published in 1963, was a startling departure from the sweetness and innocence that ruled children's literature. “Wild Things” tapped into the fears of childhood and sent its main character — an unruly boy in a wolf costume — into a menacing forest to tame the wild beasts of his imagination.

Librarians banned the book as too frightening. Psychologists and many adults condemned it for being too dark. But a 1964 Los Angeles Times review echoed many critics: The “aggressive flight of fantasy” was “the best thing of its kind in many a year.”

By then, “Wild Things” had won the Caldecott Medal for most distinguished American picture book for children. The author began receiving mail from young fans captivated by the grinning monsters Sendak said he modeled after the obnoxious relatives who populated the Sundays of his youth.

One boy wrote to ask: “How much does it cost to get to where the wild things are? If it is not expensive, my sister and I would like to spend the summer there.”

When President Obama read from “Wild Things” to children at the White House Easter egg roll in 2009, he called it one of his favorite books.

Sendak bristled at the notion that he was an author of children's books and told People magazine in 2003 that he wrote stories “about human emotion and life.”

“They're pigeonholed as children's books but the best ones aren't — they're just books,” he said.

A full obituary will follow at latimes.com/obits.


2011: Maurice Sendak's new book "Bumble-Ardy"

Where the Wild Things Are furry

2012: Maurice Sendak, hysterical and profane, on Colbert: Part 1, Part 2.

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Photo: Maurice Sendak. Credit: Associated Press

Interview: Veronica Roth on her book 'Insurgent' and feminism

InsurgentHCIn Veronica Roth's bestseller "Divergent," a young woman chooses to leave her family and align herself with a group that seems better suited to her true identity. "Insurgent," out Tuesday, sees Tris coming to a better understanding of what that decision really means in a book that is every bit as action-packed and questioning as the series kickoff. We caught up with the 23-year-old Chicago-based author to talk about her highly anticipated second book in the "Divergent" trilogy and strong female characters in dystopian young-adult fiction.

Jacket Copy: "The Hunger Games," "Divergent" and dozens of other titles in this burgeoning dystopian genre showcase strong female protagonists. Do you see a new shape of feminism emerging here?

Veronica Roth: That's a complicated question. What's interesting about these characters is that a lot of their strength is expressed in a physical way. Tris is physically weak but she learns how to be skilled in a physical way. Katniss isn't super buff, but she knows how to defend herself. I think that's something that needs to be explored more. Characters like Tris and Katniss, their worth and strength is not limited to their physical abilities. They're very much in control of their own destinies. In "Insurgent," Tris says, "Where I go, I go because I choose to." That element of "I can do it. I can control my life," that everything that happens, good or bad, happens because of the choice of the main character, that's sort of a new thing.

Jacket Copy: How would you describe your personal adolescent experience, and how did it inform "Divergent"?

Veronica Roth: As a teenager, I put a lot of pressure on myself, and a lot of that, for me, was about finding a moral high ground. As I've grown up, I've decided to abandon that because it made me judgmental and also stressed me out. There's really no way to be perfect. Perfectionism is a silly trait to have, so in a lot of ways that inspired the world of "Divergent," in which everyone is striving toward that ideal and falling short of it. Tris is a character who experiences that stress about, "Am I doing the right thing? I always have to do the right thing. If I don't, what am I worth?"

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This Sunday: John Leonard, AIDS and Carl Hiaasen, too

He was once the literary editor of the Nation and editor of the New York Times Book Review, but John Leonard was perhaps the most important literary critic in the last half of the 20th century. Our book critic David L. Ulin examines Leonard’s collected work “Reading for My Life: Writings, 1958-2008” and finds that Leonard articulated “a worldview through his criticism, to refract his reading through a wider lens.” Ulin also notes that Leonard was “widely credited with bringing such writers as Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Maxine Hong Kingston to the attention of an American readership…”

Ulin also describes his passionate commitment to writing in a passage in which Leonard describes the death threat, the fatwa, against Salman Rushdie. “It has been a disgraceful week. A maniac puts out a $5.2-million contract on one of the best writers in the English language, and how does the civilized world respond? France and Germany won’t publish 'The Satanic Verses'; Canada won’t sell it … and a brave new philistinism struts its stuff all over Mediapolis USA, telling us that Rushdie’s unreadable anyway.”

Strong stuff from a firm believer in a writer’s right to write. Ulin’s review leads our coverage in Sunday Arts & Books.

About 180 degrees away from Leonard’s work is the latest young-adult offering from Carl Hiaasen. The title is “Chomp” and the story is a sendup of reality television. In this story's case, the show is “Expedition Survival,” and its star is Derek Badger, a former Irish folk dancer, who can swallow a live salamander without actually vomiting. And while he may not throw up, he has other attributes that are a bit troublesome in a reality setting populated by cumbersome critters. He’s a klutz. And that’s how the story develops. Carpenter calls this “delightful” and “laugh out-loud” funny.

Also this week, Thomas H. Maugh, a former staffer who made science and medicine issues easily understandable for decades, turns his hand to  “Tinderbox: How the West Sparked the AIDS Epidemic and How the World Can Finally Overcome It,” a history of the pandemic by journalist Craig Timberg and Daniel Halperin, a medical anthropologist and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health’s AIDS Prevention Research Project. Repeated analyses have shown, the authors argue, that AIDS became epidemic only in regions where the number of each person’s sexual activity was high. The authors' views on controlling the spread of the disease suggest that “the best solution is a change in sexual mores.” They cite the example of Uganda, where the biggest inroads against the disease were made in the 1980s and 1990s. Leaders in that country used a potent weapon: fear.

 “Thinking the Twentieth Century” is a fearless exploration of ideas from a great public intellectual, Tony Judt, while he lay dying of Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). This is Judt’s swan song, and he's joined by Timothy Snyder, a Yale history professor. Our reviewer, Martin Rubin, writes that Judt’s focus is on Europe and takes the reader “on a wild ride through the ideological currents and shoals of 20th century thought.”

More after the jump

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Mad for 'Hunger Games' merch: nail polish, socks, crossbows


Danielle Pepers is such a fan of “The Hunger Games” that she had the book’s unofficial mascot -- a mockingjay -- tattooed on her right arm earlier this month. But her intrigue with the books, and upcoming movie, didn’t stop there. On a recent Wednesday, Pepers, 27, was shopping for T-shirts and jewelry at Hot Topic, a teen-oriented chain store at the Glendale Galleria that sells pop-culture ephemera. A mound of movie tie-in merchandise greeted her at the door.

There were knee socks, pillow cases and nail polish. Mini figures, sweat bands, even a watch. Still, that wasn’t all. Stepping over to the digital kiosk, there were dozens of other “The Hunger Games” items – 60 in total -- that could be special ordered into the store, including an $80 crossbow and ear buds for $19.50.

With “The Hunger Games” set to hit movie theaters next week, the publisher of the books it’s based upon is releasing four movie tie-in titles, including an illustrated movie companion, a tribute guide and, on March 23, the day of the film’s release, “The World of the Hunger Games,” a visual dictionary featuring pictures from the film. Other publishers are also hoping to cash in, with unofficial guidebooks, cookbooks and parodies, including Harvard Lampoon’s “The Hunger Pains.” It’s Lionsgate, however, that has unloosed the floodgates on a tidal wave of licensed merchandise –- most of it sold at Hot Topic and made by the National Entertainment Collectibles Assn. in New Jersey, one of the country’s largest providers of wholesale licensed movie merchandise.

Earlier this month the Los Angeles nail polish company, China Glaze, began selling Electrify (in orange glitter), Stone Cold (in metallic flake) and 10 other colors inspired by “The Hunger Games” 12 districts, where the action of the book unfolds.  Licensed through Lionsgate and available at Hot Topic and Sally Beauty, sales “have already exceeded our normal collection standards,” said China Glaze brand manager Rachel Schafer.

Huge as “The Hunger Games” is even before the film’s release, nothing says success like a Barbie. Mattel recently announced plans to introduce a collectible Katniss Everdeen doll to its Barbie Collector series before the end of the year.

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