'Private Parts' is flying off the shelves

An interesting question: Could "Private Parts" be better than "Sex"?

Howard Stern's "Private Parts" appeared in bookstores Oct. 7, but the radio talk show host's book already is on its way to becoming the fastest seller of the year.


Dee Peeler, head book buyer at Greetings & Readings in Towson, says of Stern's book, "We got 300 copies on Oct. 7 out of our original order of 500, and they sold out the first day."

Ms. Peeler says that Madonna's photo book "Sex" -- released last October -- and "The Way Things Ought to Be," the 2 million-plus-selling book by Rush Limbaugh, were the only books she's seen recently that have sold as quickly as "Private Parts."


At Waldenbooks in Towson Town Center, the 20 copies that came in Oct. 7 sold out within 90 minutes, manager Jo Blankenburg says, adding wistfully, "And we won't get any more until next weekend."

"Private Parts" zoomed to the No. 1 ranking in Waldenbooks' national best-seller list for the week ending Oct. 9 -- a remarkable showing considering the book had been out only three days.

Susan Arnold, a spokeswoman for the chain, would not give out specific sales figures for the book but says it's doing particularly well in the 14 cities where Mr. Stern's morning show is heard (it's heard on WJFK-AM 1300 in Baltimore).

And at Mr. Sterns' publisher, Simon & Schuster, which published the probable turkey of the year in Joe McGinniss' "The Last Brother," there is a sense of euphoria mixed with a bit of disbelief.

"We're trying to stay abreast of the demand, but when a book is selling this fast, it's hard to do," says Wendy Nicholson, director of marketing. She says "Private Parts" had a first printing of about 250,000 -- already enough for a respectable best seller -- but quickly decided to reprint close to 600,000 copies -- the fastest reprint order in the publisher's history, she notes.