Cooking to thrillers: a crisis inspires book trends

Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:12pm EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The global financial crisis has some people looking in books for answers and the biggest economic calamity in decades is boosting sales of everything from books about the world's richest man to page-turning thrillers.

Borders Group Inc, the second largest U.S. bookseller, and Amazon, the world's largest Web retailer, both said they had seen a recent trend toward finance books, from biographies of key players to books about past financial crises.

"People are really thirsting for knowledge and trying to understand what's happening out there and how we could have gotten to this point in the economy," said Kathryn Popoff, Borders vice president for adult trade books.

"We don't see the book sales really concentrated in one or two titles, we're seeing it spread out across multiple titles, which leads me to believe that people are trying to figure out the different components of what's going on," she said.

"The Snowball," the first authorized biography of billionaire Warren Buffett -- an investment guru whose company, Berkshire Hathaway, invested a total $8 billion in Goldman Sachs and General Electric Co -- has been a bestseller since its release earlier this month.

It is No. 1 on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list and No. 5 on Amazon's bestseller list.

Outside a Manhattan Barnes and Noble bookstore, Anne White, 64, an artist from Newbury, Massachusetts, said she bought "The End of America" and "Give Me Liberty" by Naomi Wolf.

"I'm hoping I will see some answers about what I can do, because you feel a little hopeless about the whole thing," said White. "The financial crisis represents the greed that is taking place in the United States right now."   Continued...

<p>Billionaire financier and Berkshire Hathaway Chief Executive Warren Buffett greets shareholders during the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska May 3, 2008. REUTERS/Carlos Barria</p>