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Fault story enjoys faultless run

- Powered by film, Young Adult book sells big

“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.” This may be one of the most quoted lines of John Green’s book The Fault in Our Stars, or it could well be what the author is thinking when he looks at the sales figures pouring in!

Published by Penguin in January 2012, The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS) has sold over 10 million copies worldwide till date, around 80,000 of them in India. And with its film adaptation releasing here this Friday, Penguin expects the India numbers to touch 200,000. No wonder the title is flying off the shelves in Calcutta!

“In the last few months we have sold 100 copies of the book and now it’s out of stock. Based on the current demand we have placed a re-order. Many customers have requested us to book a copy for them,” said a spokesperson for Oxford Bookstore on Park Street.

The story of two American teenagers, Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus “Gus” Waters, who meet in a cancer support group and fall in love, was also out of stock at Starmark, Quest, and Starmark, City Centre, till Friday afternoon. Fresh stocks arrived in the evening. “The sale of this book is stupendous. It has topped our bestseller list for the last six months, and recently the sales have spiked in the run-up to the film release. In the last two months, we have sold about 750 copies from our outlets and online,” said Gautam Jatia, CEO, Starmark.

The book is selling steadily for the past three months at Story on Elgin Road, around 20 copies a week. “As an author of Young Adult fiction, John Green may not yet be as popular as Stephenie Meyer of Twilight fame or Chetan Bhagat closer home but TFIOS has been doing consistently well,” said Sidharth Pansari of Story.

Jatia, who enjoyed reading TFIOS, feels the appeal of the book lies in John Green’s writing. “His writing has touched a chord with young readers, who have identified with the teenaged protagonists,” he said.

A spokesperson for Penguin India said TFIOS has already sold 50,000 copies in 2014, a massive jump from the 600 copies they sold in 2012. They pegged the spurt to “word of mouth and renewed interest because of the film”. Following the movie trailer release in February, sales jumped by 40 per cent within a month.

But though 17-year-old Hazel’s lungs “suck at being lungs” and Gus lost half a leg to a “touch of osteosarcoma” this book is not about disease or dying.

“When I first heard about TFIOS, I expected one of those cancer-ridden adolescents’ sappy romances, predictably with a A Walk To Remember ending. But I couldn’t have been more wrong! This book is not about cancer or death, it is about life and love, and Gus taught me that. It is a simple story that does not victimise death but makes you live beyond it,” feels t2 reader Anuradha Pandit.

The film, a faithful adaptation of the book and starring Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Gus, has raked in over $200 million and counting. Such is the global fandom, who called themselves FaultFanatics, that a bench in Amsterdam on which the scene where Gus makes an important revelation to Hazel was shot has gone missing!

According to Penguin, John Green is today not just a writer but a brand. And interest in this 36-year-old self-confessed nerd from Indianapolis has fuelled interest in the five novels he wrote before TFIOS. “When readers likes an author’s style, they will want to check out his or her other works too, that’s always the case. Given the interest, we have placed orders for his other books too, said Pansari of Story. According to Jatia of Starmark, two other John Green titles doing well in Calcutta are Looking for Alaska (2005) and Paper Towns (2008).

The fault in our stars is my favourite film after harry potter, says a young fan