Harry Potter tops Amazon's best-selling books of 2016

Familiar authors from John Grisham to Nora Roberts make their appearance too.

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Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
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Dan Ackerman
2 min read

It's not even mid-December yet, but Amazon says it knows what the top-selling books of 2016 are. In a just-announced list, the company puts " Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2, Special Rehearsal Edition Script," by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, in the top spot. Amazon says this is the first time a script has made it into the annual top 20, which includes both hardcover and e-book sales.

The No. 2 spot is especially interesting in a list dominated by ongoing series and airport staples like John Grisham and Lee Child. It's "When Breath Becomes Air," a memoir by the late neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi about his battle with lung cancer.

Nine of the top 20 could be described as mysteries or thrillers, and "The Nest" by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney was the top debut novel of the year.

Here's the full list:

  1. "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2, Special Rehearsal Edition Script" by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
  2. "When Breath Becomes Air" by Paul Kalanithi
  3. "The Whistler" by John Grisham
  4. "The Last Mile" (Amos Decker series) by David Baldacci
  5. "Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  6. "Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis" by J.D. Vance
  7. "Truly Madly Guilty" by Liane Moriarty
  8. "Night School: A Jack Reacher Novel" by Lee Child
  9. "The Black Widow: Book 16 of Gabriel Allon Series" by Daniel Silva
  10. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid No. 11: Double Down" by Jeff Kinney
  11. "15th Affair (Women's Murder Club)" by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  12. "Before the Fall" by Noah Hawley
  13. "Fool Me Once" by Harlan Coben
  14. "Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate" by Gary J. Byrne
  15. "The Wrong Side of Goodbye: A Harry Bosch Novel" by Michael Connelly
  16. "The Magnolia Story" by Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines
  17. "The Nest" by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
  18. "One with You: Book 5 of A Crossfire Series" by Sylvia Day
  19. "The Obsession" by Nora Roberts
  20. "Everything We Keep" by Kerry Lonsdale

A separate list for kids and teen books can be found here. No surprise, Harry Potter topped that list too.