NEW YORK – Tragedy has made Angus Kress Gillespie a best-selling writer.
"It's a very conflicted situation," said Gillespie, author of Twin Towers, a scholarly history of the World Trade Center that as of early Thursday topped the Hot 100 list on Amazon.com.
"To the extent that people can find comfort in the book, in a strange way it's satisfying."
The terrorist attacks on the trade towers and on the Pentagon have placed all sorts of previously obscure titles on the Amazon.com list. Among them: a second World Trade Center history, several books related to Nostradamus and apocalyptic prophecy, and Fighting Terrorism by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Also in demand is Hell to Pay, a highly unflattering work about Hillary Rodham Clinton written by Barbara Olson, a passenger on one of the hijacked planes and wife of U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson.
"It's one of those morbid business realities that in times like this people turn to relevant products," said Margaret Dawson, a spokeswoman for Amazon.com.
She said the cancellation of domestic flights has had relatively minor impact on deliveries since about 75 percent are made by ground transportation.
Gillespie's book was published in 1999 by Rutgers University Press with a printing of 3,000 and had only sold about 2,000 as of the day before the bombings. An additional 15,000 are now being hurried out, said Gillespie, a 59-year-old professor of American studies at Rutgers.
Part of the proceeds will be donated to the families of victims.
Barnes & Noble Inc., which reopened Thursday after closing all stores the day before, said histories of Islam, books about Nostradamus and calendars featuring pictures of the World Trade Center have had noticeably increased sales.
"These are books that we ordinarily don't sell much of, so we're trying to keep them in stock," spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating said.