‘The Secret’ is Out (of Stock)
The secret to publishing a runaway best seller is out, and you won’t need to read a book or watch a DVD to get in on it.
“The Secret,” a self-help book by Rhonda Byrne, is perhaps the most controversial chart-topper since Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code.” By now you’ve probably heard its premise—that your own thoughts hold the key to a happy, healthy and successful life. Positive thinking attracts positive results, preaches Byrne and a team of “teachers” featured throughout the book. They call it the law of attraction. Your business didn’t fail because you missed a quota or hired the wrong personnel. You failed because you were afraid you’d fail.
Conversely, there’s Judith Curr, executive vice president and publisher of Simon & Schuster imprint Atria Books, publisher of “The Secret.” Curr has enjoyed plenty of success throughout her company’s five-year existence. In fact, Atria has been home to 103 best sellers, but “The Secret” is clearly her biggest hit.
She says she never doubted the book would be well received and adds that she, too, is a disciple of its philosophy. “I never for one second didn’t believe that this book wasn’t going to be huge,” she says. “I went on record [to my staff]. I always give a minimum [number of copies we will sell], but I never give a maximum. So I said to everybody that we were going to sell 1 million copies and, as soon as we did, I would give them chocolate. We went and bought a lot of Godiva.”
Whether there is some truth to the book’s premise is up for debate. The results Curr and Atria have had, however, are not. At the time of this story, 3.75 million copies of “The Secret” were in print. Demand was so high that many stores were quickly out of stock, and Atria placed an order for an additional 2 million copies on March 1—marking the single biggest book order in Simon & Schuster history.