Sales Lag for Book on Deep Throat

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It is the ultimate Washington story, told by the ultimate Washington chronicler. But in Washington and just about everywhere else, sales of "The Secret Man," Bob Woodward's story of the source known as Deep Throat, have been underwhelming.

At Politics and Prose, a well-known independent bookstore in Washington, sales were "not very good, compared to expectations," said Mark LaFramboise, who ordered 400 copies of the book for the store. As of last week, Politics and Prose had sold "60-something," he said. "I expected it to be a blockbuster," he said. "I was wrong."

The book, Mr. Woodward's account of his relationship with the source who helped him and Carl Bernstein break open the Watergate scandal in the early 1970's, has sold 61,000 copies in its first five weeks on sale, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks sales in bookstores and other outlets that usually account for about 70 percent of a new book's sales.

The book has also been on the New York Times best-seller list for five weeks, starting at No. 4 and ranking No. 12 on the list to be published Sunday, reflecting sales in the week ended Aug. 6.

But compared with sales of Mr. Woodward's recent books, "The Secret Man" is a laggard. "Plan of Attack," about the Bush administration's preparations for the war in Iraq, sold 183,000 copies the week it went on sale in April 2004, according to BookScan, and it sold about six times as many copies in its first five weeks as "The Secret Man" did.

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