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From The Times, March 12, 2009, by Ben Macintyre: "The way we read now as our world totters; Sales of romantic fiction, Dickens and Ayn Rand's paean to capitalism are soaring, but nothing beats F. Scott Fitzgerald."
The Times has an interesting story of books that sell well during the recession:
Publishing may be facing the same problems as other businesses, but some books are booming. Escapist romantic fiction is in the pink. Mills & Boon is selling three books a second, and Cheryl Cole, of Girls Aloud, has signed a £5million deal to write romantic novels.
...But there is another recession-driven bestseller that speaks volumes about attitudes towards the global economic crisis. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand's epic 1,000-page novel extolling capitalism and the virtues of self-interest, has tripled its sales in the past seven months, and sold an astonishing 200,000 copies in the US in 2008, more than at any time since it was first published in 1957.
Read more about it at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/ben_macintyre/article5891111.ece