Chimamanda Adichie’s third novel Americanah was already doing quite well. Since its release earlier this year, it’s enjoyed a steady stream of almost unanimously favorable reviews and has been ranked among the low thousands out of the millions of books on Amazon. But the combination of Beyoncé sampling Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” TEDx Talk on her album released on December 13th, and the New York Times ranking it among the top 10 of 2013 has caused the book to leap 682 spots on Amazon’s ranking system in just 11 days.
The Atlantic‘s Robinson Meyer tracked the book’s progress from 5pm December 12th, hours before Beyoncé surprised fans and the music industry by simultaneously releasing 14 new songs and 17 music videos without advance hype, through yesterday: “At 5 p.m. on December 12, 2013—the day before the album came out—Amazon ranked Americanah #861 of all hardcover books,” Meyer noted. “Five days later, the book was ranked #632. Today, the book is ranked #179.”
Meyer put the rise in context, crediting the Times as well:
Moving with such speed through the top 1,000 books on Amazon is a slog, because books in the top couple hundred slots sell much more than books in the low thousands. It’s much harder to advance from #200 to #199 than it is from #2,000 to #1,999.
But if you look at the chart of historical sales rank data, you’ll see Americanah had already shot through the rankings before the release of Beyoncé. On December 1, the book was ranked #3,873; On December 6, it was ranked #1,811. It fell another thousand before the release of Beyoncé. What happened?
This: On December 4th, the New York Times called Americanah one of the top 10 books of 2013.
Head to The Atlantic to read Meyer’s full story.