Sales for Sept. 11-themed books drop considerably

— Sales for Sept. 11 books have dropped substantially since the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks, although a handful of titles remain best sellers.

According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about two-thirds of retail sales, Lisa Beamer's "Let's Roll" was the most popular nonfiction hardcover book for the week ending Sept. 22. Beamer's husband, Todd, is credited with helping lead the charge against the terrorists on United Flight 93.

The third best-selling book was "Longitudes and Attitudes," essays and journals about Sept. 11 by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Thomas Friedman of The New York Times. "What We Saw," a retrospective with an introduction by CBS anchor Dan Rather, ranked No. 12.

Seven Sept. 11 books appeared in the top 15 on the BookScan list for the week ending Sept. 15, when the actual anniversary took place. Sales for all have since dropped, some by more than half. "What We Saw," for example, sold 7,000 copies last week, compared to 15,000 the week before.

"Interest has fallen off," said Barbara Meade, co-owner of Politics & Prose, a Washington, D.C.-based store located about 10 miles from the Pentagon.

"The Thomas Friedman book is selling better than anything we've had this year. But we have a table of Sept. 11 books that are not getting the sales they did before," Meade said Wednesday.

More than 100 books related to the attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon came out this fall, covering everything from religion to intelligence gathering. Publishers and booksellers have questioned how many would catch on with readers.

"We don't need every publishing company doing 10 or 12 books every Sept. 11," said Mary Gay Shipley, owner of That Bookstore in Blytheville, Ark. "I don't think we should ever forget, but I do get the feeling we're moving on."

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