In the archives are multiple articles on “Becoming the Natural” by Randy Couture, co-written by Loretta Hunt. Now the autobiography of Randy Couture has cracked, barely, the New York Times Top 20 for Hardcover Non-Fiction. This is a big deal as many bookstores such as Borders have NYT displays and the NYT lists are considered the most accurate industry-wide. Other MMA biographies like those from Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes may have been on co-op displays or feature bays of new hardcovers but haven’t had the peak sales of Couture’s book.
Although this is cause for celebration as a landmark don’t expect it to last long. In the first place when the Olympics wrap up several titles are expected to hit retail shelves. Add to that the election cycle glut on its way spearheaded by the current NYT #1 best seller The Obama Nation as well as #5, 11, and 13 on this list and Couture’s book is likely to drop a few spots. On the other hand this is third quarter ramp-up for most chains, meaning this is the time chains are ordering and shipping quantities to last through the holidays with a roughly 20% increase in shipments this month over last and a peak shipping schedule for the year coming in September. This means the timing is right as even a #20 showing for one week in the ramp-up could translate to more prominent display placement, especially considering this title is the top sports book pre-Olympics. Not bad for a first pressing of 50,000 copies. One thing is for sure; my dayjob in the stockroom of a bookstore is going to make me sick of this title by November.