'Dispatches' hits number one this week

Anderson Cooper may have struggled for a few months in the ratings, but he’s having no such trouble on the bestseller list.

Cooper’s “Dispatches From the Edge,” his hybrid mix of memoir and reportage, will hit the top spot on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list this week. The book displaces “Marley & Me,” the phenom about a recalcitrant dog, and leapfrogs Tim Russert’s collection “Wisdom of Our Fathers.”

Achievement marks the first time in a while that a non-Fox News journo sits atop the list. Two years ago, Tom Brokaw did it with “The Greatest Generation,” but that book wasn’t a memoir and had the advantage of a glitzy premise.

Part of the reason for Cooper’s sales bonanza? He’s been flogging the book on “AC360″ in the context of news stories related to Katrina. It’s a trick Jon Stewart set the stage for when he promoted (with self-deprecating irony, natch) “America (The Book)” on “The Daily Show.” Cooper’s demeanor is perfect fodder for the book tour, where a dash of the confessional always helps. More than a thousand fans — many of them wielding cameras — lined up to see the anchor and have books signed at a Gotham Barnes & Noble last week.

Cooper’s fortunes also are turning around on the tube. After an April in which his ratings were down 36% in the 25-54 demo for the 10 p.m. slot compared with a year ago, May saw a jump of 24%. Total aud numbers also are up in significant double digits for both the 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. hours.

Oh, and one other small factor that probably didn’t hurt the book — Cooper spent an hour on Oprah’s couch.

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