A couple years ago Peter answered in this post that as of May 2015 (3 years ago now), Brandon had sold ~7 million copies (not including Wheel of Time). I am curious now if Peter would be so good as to give us an update, especially after I saw this from his source in that comment that in the first week alone of Oathbringer's release it sold over 300k copies. That number, especially when taken in context with this other comment of Peter's from that thread, means that OB did way better than the average #1 NYT bestseller.
When a movie hits #1, millions of people saw it that week. On a slow sales week for books, it's possible to hit #1 on the New York Times list and only sell 12,000 copies. (Though that is rare; it's also possible to sell that much and miss the top 15.) The #1 usually sells much less than 100k copies in release week. Publishers don't want people to know, without digging for the info, how small the industry really is.
I'm sure Oathbringer's sales were pretty frontloaded given it's place in a series and how anticipated it was, but I'd love to know how well the books are doing, and I'm just curious if he could give us an idea of how well Stormlight does compared to Mistborn or anything like that. I assume the SA books are Brandon's top sellers, but I obviously don't know that for sure, and I just wonder if each SA book sells like twice as much as an average Mistborn book, or is it closer to 1.5x, or 3x. I imagine they must sell very well to be worth the huge amount of time and the incredible toll it takes on him to write given they are 2-3x longer than his other books.
Anyway, I'm just a curious and nosy guy who loves learning about sales figures, I follow boxofficemojo.com every Sunday to see how much each movie makes for no reason whatsoever aside from I'm interested in it. I also, like many of us I assume, wish for the best for Brandon and the rest of Team Dragonsteel and hope his books are kicking ass and flying off shelves.
Total sales are now over 11 million worldwide (still not counting WoT). Mistborn, with more books, is a higher proportion of that than Stormlight is. Stormlight is catching up, but it still has quite a way to go. Oathbringer has sold more in hardcover than anything except WoT books.
Mistborn's mass market paperback box set is usually in the top ten box set sales for the year. Way of Kings mmpb has sold more each year than the year previous since 2014. So did Mistborn until 2017, which is also the first time that Way of Kings mmpb passed up the Mistborn mmpb and box set combined. But Well of Ascension is still outselling Words of Radiance by the same metric.
Those are just print numbers. I don't have the ebook breakdowns handy. Generally ebook has been selling twice as much as print, with audio a bit lower—but with Oathbringer, the print, audio, and ebook numbers are nearly identical. Readers seem to really like the hardcovers, probably due to all the art, and Oathbringer was the most preordered Audible audiobook of all time—which I believe means it had the highest-selling audiobook release week of all time. (It won't pass up books like Harry Potter in the long run.)
When you say "Those are just print numbers" do you mean the paragraph preceding that statement, or is the "over 11 million" just print? I am assuming over 11 million includes all print/ebook/audible etc, but just want to clarify. Again, thank you.
The 11 million does include ebook and audio. Though also, that number was from June so it doesn’t include Oathbringer. But that fact doesn’t change anything I said here, yet.
I wonder - considering the three main Stormlight books are about as many words as all the Mistborn books combined, which series has "sold the most words"?
Interesting! I suppose it's somewhat expected considering Mistborn was released first. If you'll indulge me, is it still the same if we rescale for time? Sort of a "word sales rate" - is the average Sanderson reader more likely to currently be reading Stormlight or Mistborn?
Hard to say right now because the good numbers reporting only happens every January and July. The sales period from July to December 2018 will be best to look at for comparison purposes, since neither series will have a super-recent book out in that period. We'll get those numbers in July 2019.
That's an insanely long delay for getting good data.
It's because the publishing industry borrows from the future by paying authors royalties 6 to 11.97 months after book sales take place. And it's the royalty reports that include the actual sales numbers.