Earlier this month, Glenn Beck did what precious few authors have tried and failed to do over the past four weeks: unseat Stieg Larsson from the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Beck's thriller The Overton Window topped the charts with more than 132,000 copies sold in its first week, according to Nielsen Bookscan (which tracks approximately 75% of total book sales). This isn't exactly new territory for Beck, who has seen his name at the top of the charts in fiction, non-fiction, and even children's picture books. Since 2003, Fox News's conservative host has sold almost 5 million copies of his books in the United States alone.
Not only do Beck's books sell at record levels, but so do his book picks. Every month or so, Beck holds up his latest choice from one of his favorite genres: thrillers, non-fiction (mainly about the founding fathers), and polemics. Like Oprah, Beck has turned into a literary tastemaker and for the authors he's interviewed on his programs and their publishers, the results are staggering. George Washington's Sacred Fire, Peter Lillback's 1,200-page biography first published by the tiny Providence Forum Press in 2006, has sold more than 45,000 copies this year, according to Bookscan. The vast majority of those sales coming after Lilliback appeared on Beck's television show in mid-May.