Proving that awards sometimes do matter, sales of Kazuo Ishiguro’s books have skyrocketed following the announcement of his winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature. Ishiguro’s most well-known book, The Remains of the Day which was languishing at No. 18,506 on Amazon India’s bestseller list at the time of the announcement on October 5, had broken into the top 50, hitting No. 45, at the same time one day later. Similarly, his futuristic novel Never Let Me Go (2005) jumped from No. 6,562 to No. 122 in the same period.
While a complex set of considerations goes into the ranking of a book on Amazon, the number is increasingly looked at as a quick and reliable indicator of a book’s current popularity among buyers. With Ishiguro’s win coming as a bit of a surprise to everyone, including his publishers, the book has currently run out of stock on Amazon India, suggesting it might have climbed further.
As the most prestigious literary prize in the world, the Literature Nobel is known to have a direct impact on sales. Last year, Bob Dylan’s album sales, and more markedly book sales, also saw an exceptional increase. His book of lyrics shot up from number 73,543 on Amazon’s bestsellers list on the morning of the announcement to 209 by the end of the day. Due to the unpredictability of the Nobel Prize winners and the absence of a shortlist of candidates, however, publishers and booksellers are often caught unaware, leading to books running out of stock within a few hours.