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Bull market for books on economic disaster

September 25, 2008 8:32:06 AM PDT
As the government worked on a plan to prevent a financial disaster, readers are seeking out books about economic crises - past, present and future.

"When the world seems to be ending, people still turn to books for help," says Nancy Sheppard, vice president of marketing at Viking, publisher of Kevin Phillips' "Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism," one of several such works getting a boost in sales.

According to Viking, "Bad Money" sold 5,000 copies in the two days following Phillips' appearance last week on the PBS television program, "Bill Moyers Journal." As of Thursday morning, the book was No. 15 on Amazon.com's best-seller list; followed by Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism," at No. 20; and, at No. 23, "Snowball," Alice Schroeder's authorized biography of billionaire Warren Buffett, who announced this week he would invest at least $5 billion in Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Other popular titles include Peter D. Schiff's "Crash Proof," David M. Smick's "The World Is Curved" and a classic from decades ago, John Kenneth Galbraith's "The Great Crash 1929."

"Sales of books relating to the current financial crisis are on the increase," says Dave Hathaway, a buyer of business books for Barnes & Noble Inc. "Our customers are struggling to understand both how this crisis came to be and how it will effect their personal finances and their jobs."

On Wednesday, Penguin Press announced that financial writer Roger Lowenstein is working on "Six Days That Shook the World," a "probing look" at the past week's events from the author of "Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist" and "When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management."


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