Stephen King On the Charts

Below, you'll find a complete bibliography of the book-length works of Stephen King. Being that we here at Charnel House are big fans of lists and charts, we're doing our best to give you not only a basic bibliography, but also a publication history as well as a chart history. Based simply on the amount of #1 titles King has had, he is the most popular writer ever ... but not every book went to #1, and I think that's interesting. I hope you enjoy perusing the chart as much as I've enjoyed making it.

All figures come from the New York Times Bestseller List. A ? denotes a fact I'm having trouble verifying. A - means the book did not chart. A * indicates that the book was released during a newspaper strike, thus the chart data is impossible to quantify. All titles are hyperlinks back to the corresponding review page, and all #1s are indicated with red shading and a bold white typeface. Enjoy the chart!

Release DateTitleHardcoverPaperback
04/05/1974 Carrie - 3
10/17/1975 'Salem's Lot - 1
03/27/1977 The Shining 8 3
09/03/1977 Rage - -
02/12/1978 Night Shift - 9
02/12/1978 The Stand 13 2
08/30/1979 The Dead Zone 1 1
07/08/1979 The Long Walk - -
09/28/1980 Firestarter 1 2
04/05/1981 Roadwork - -
05/03/1981 Danse Macabre 7 -
09/08/1981 Cujo 1 1
05/23/1982 The Running Man - -
06/10/1982 The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger - 1
07/18/1982 Creepshow - -
08/27/1982 Different Seasons 1 2
04/10/1983 Christine 3 1
11/07/1983 Cycle of the Werewolf - 5
11/14/1983 Pet Sematary 1 1
10/08/1984 The Talisman (with Peter Straub) 1 1
11/19/1984 Thinner 1 1
12/02/1984 The Eyes of the Dragon 1 1
06/23/1985 Skeleton Crew 1 1
10/04/1985 Silver Bullet - -
10/04/1985 The Bachman Books 10 3
09/15/1986 It 1 1
05/01/1987 The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three - 1
06/07/1987 Misery 1 1
11/29/1987 The Tommyknockers 1 1
10/24/1989 The Dark Half 1 1
05/13/1990 The Stand: Complete & Uncut 1 1
09/03/1990 Four Past Midnight 1 1
08/16/1991 The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands - 1
10/04/1991 Needful Things 2 3
06/30/1992 Gerald's Game 1 5
11/17/1992 Dolores Claiborne 1 1
10/13/1993 Nightmares & Dreamscapes 2 3
10/01/1994 Insomnia 1 1
07/01/1995 Rose Madder 2 2
04/14/1996 The Green Mile: The Two Dead Girls - 1
05/12/1996 The Green Mile: The Mouse on the Mile - 1
06/09/1996 The Green Mile: Coffey's Hands - 1
07/07/1996 The Green Mile: The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix - 1
08/19/1996 The Green Mile: Night Journey - 1
09/15/1996 The Green Mile: Coffey on the Mile - 1
10/01/1996 Desperation 1 1
10/01/1996 The Regulators 2 5
04/20/1997 Six Stories - -
08/09/1997 The Dark Tower IV: Wizard & Glass 12 1
09/22/1998 Bag of Bones 1 1
02/01/1999 Storm of the Century - 7
04/16/1999 The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon 1 2
09/14/1999 Hearts In Atlantis 4 3
11/21/1999 The Green Mile (Compiled) - 2
06/05/2000 The Plant - -
10/03/2000 Secret Windows - -
10/03/2000 On Writing 2 4
05/20/2001 Dreamcatcher 1 2
09/15/2001 Black House (with Peter Straub) 1 2
03/19/2002 Everything's Eventual 1 3
09/24/2002 From a Buick 8 1 6
11/04/2003 The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla 2 -
06/08/2004 The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah 1 -
09/21/2004 The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower 1 -
03/14/2005 Faithful (with Stewart O'Nan) 3 -
10/04/2005 The Colorado Kid - 5
01/04/2006 Cell 1 2
10/24/2006 Lisey's Story 1 4
06/12/2007 Blaze 2 13
10/16/2007 The Mist - 29
01/22/2008 Duma Key 1 5
11/30/2008 Just After Sunset 2 5
11/10/2009 Under the Dome 1 -
04/20/2010 Blockade Billy 9 -

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • Stephen King is only the second person ever to have a book at the #1 and #2 spots on the Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers List (Robert James Waller beat him with The Bridges Of Madison County and Slow Waltz In Cedar Bend), achieving this in 1996 with Desperation and The Regulators. The only person yet to do it in nonfiction is Robert Fulgham, who occasionally plays with King in the Rock Bottom Remainders.

  • Neither the initial hardcover or paperback printings of Carrie generated much chart attention; only when Brian DePalma's film became a hit did King's novel peak at an impressive #3, in January of 1977.

  • King's second book, 'Salem's Lot, actually hit the paperback bestseller lists before his first (due to the aforementioned movie tie-in business.) 'Salem's Lot also holds the distinction of being the first book of King's to hit #1 on any chart.

  • The Dead Zone is the first Stephen King book to hit #1 on both the hardcover and paperback charts.

  • Stephen King has never had a nonfiction book reach #1 on the Hardcover chart. On Writing came the closest, at #2, followed by Faithful at #3 and Danse Macabre at a relatively minor #7.

  • Other than Thinner, which was released mere months before the revelation that Bachman was King, no Bachman book has ever hit the #1 spot. All of the original four Bachman books - Rage, The Long Walk, Roadwork and The Running Man (all paperback originals) - failed to chart at all. The compilation hardcover, The Bachman Books fared better, reaching #3 on the paperback chart (but not placing at all on the hardcover chart). Both subsequent Bachman hardcovers - The Regulators and Blaze - did well, but still stalled at #2.

  • In 1991, a whole bunch of bestselling writers released new novels around the same time, including King with Needful Things. None of them reached #1, due to the unprecedented success of the Gone With the Wind sequel, Scarlett. Needful Things halted at #2.

  • If the chart performance of Hearts In Atlantis seems oddly poor, here's the reason: it was up against the first three volumes of the Harry Potter series. The New York Times subsequently banished the Harry Potter novels to a new, kids-only chart, thereby freeing up space again for the adult books. Ergo, Dreamcatcher at #1.

  • Because The Green Mile was released in six seperate parts over the spring and summer of 1996, I decided to track the volumes' chart performances individually. Three years later, the book came out in a compilation volume, first in paperback and then in hardcover. The paperback charted at a remarkably high #2, whereas the hardcover failed to chart at all.

  • The Mist charting at #29 on the Times' extended paperback list might not seem all that high, but keep in mind that it's a solo publication of a novella that's been available to the public since the late 70s. Taking that into consideration, 29's pretty high!

  • The Dark Tower books have a frustrating chart history. The first four books (The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands, and Wizard & Glass) were published by Donald M. Grant, a specialty publisher, as limited editions. The demand, as well as the print runs, grew higher with each subsequent book, so much so that Wizard & Glass was sold in retail stores, as well as through Grant directly; this is how that book managed to make it to the relatively lofty position of #12. When Wolves of the Calla was released, it was done so via an unprecedented joint venture between Grant and Scribner, guaranteeing higher-than-ever print runs. This is how Wolves got to #2.

    Which is actually kind of a lie. See, because of the whole Green Mile debacle about charting series' books as one title, what really went to #2 was "The Dark Tower, Volumes 1-5. It's safe to assume, however, that because the chart dates correspond with Wolves of the Calla's release date, that's the book we should be talking about.

    Even more frustrating is the paperback charting of Wolves. Still under the "whole series" designation, I'm positive the Dark Tower name should have charted ... but I can't find the data. This will hopefully change, because it's inconceivable that neither the trade nor the mass-market paperback of Wolves charted at all.

    Someone in the chart department seemed to wise up to the ludicrousness of the concept, and both Song of Susannah and The Dark Tower had solo chart runs, both topping at #1. One has to wonder what would have happened if Wolves had been allowed to stand alone.

  • King has published two only full-length screenplays, Silver Bullet and Storm of the Century. For whatever reason, Silver Bullet failed to chart at all (perhaps in part because much of the book was a reprint of Cycle of the Werewolf, which had been published years before). Storm of the Century made it to #7 on the Paperback charts ... which might not seem like very high, but considering that screenplays aren't generally mass-market material, I'd say #7 is pretty high!

  • While King's hardcover career seems as healthy as always, he has not had a paperback #1 since 1998's Bag of Bones - nearly a decade!

  • Chart information about King's earliest books - from Carrie through The Stand - is difficult to verify, but in the case of the hardcover releases of Night Shift and The Stand, it's virtually impossible. In 1978, there was a newspaper strike, which means that the New York Times - and its Bestseller Lists - ceased publication for a bit. The most frustrating aspect of this is that, with The Shining at #8 before the strike and The Dead Zone at #1 after, we missed a crucial eveolutionary step in quantifying King's popularity. It's safe to guess that Night Shift may have made the chart, but likely didn't reach the pole position (short story collections don't generally do well on the Times charts; by the time Different Seasons was released, King's name was the selling point, but Night Shift was likely too early to be a huge seller based just on that.) But The Stand - King's most popular work - what of that? Immediately before the strike, it appeared on the Hardocver chart at #13; the chart vanished before it could go any higher. Would it have gone to #1? Would it have gone a little higher than The Shining, but stall? Would it have fallen immediately off the chart? We'll sadly never know.

  • The #1 showing of Duma Key is pretty remarkable. It marks Stephen King's thirtieth #1 bestseller. No author has ever had thirty number 1s on the bestseller list. The only author to come close is Danielle Steel, who is currently at 27.

  • Its first week on the paperback charts has been only sort of kind to Duma Key. A number 5 showing is impressive, certainly, but I'd love to see a hardcover and paperback of the same book hit #1. Ah well. Just After Sunset is on the horizon, and it's currently the most popular book on Amazon. Let's see what happens!

  • With Just After Sunset reaching only #2 on the hardcover charts, it becomes King's first book of fiction under his own name to not hit #1 since 2003's Wolves of the Calla. Against King's other collections of short fiction, it fares acceptably. There's no chart data for Night Shift, but Skeleton Crew, Different Seasons, Four Past Midnight, and Everything's Eventual all hit #1. Of the collections, only Nightmares and Dreamscapes hit #2 before stalling. (Note: I don't count Hearts in Atlantis as a story collection, as the stories are so intrinsically linked, they might as well be chapters.) This is still Just After Sunset's first week, so momentum could build for it. I hope so; it's a terrific book.

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