WHEATON, Ill. (January 14, 2002) The blockbuster Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins sold its 50 millionth copy on Saturday, January 12, 2002. English teacher Donna Camby, of Pacolet, S.C., made the historic purchase of the 50 millionth copy at Christian Supply in Spartanburg, S.C. during a packed booksigning of more than 700 Left Behind fans.
Camby stepped up to the cash register to add Tribulation Force to her collection. When the cashier scanned the UPC code, the computer screen started flashing "50 Millionth Sale of Left Behind." "I never win anything," Camby says was her first thought.
The English teacher at Jonesville High School received a $500 gift certificate from Christian Supply for herself, a $500 gift certificate for her church and an autographed set of the nine books in the series as well as a commitment to receive autographed copies of the forthcoming three books as they are released. Currently, the Left Behind series from Tyndale House Publishers is the fastest-selling adult series and the all-time best-selling Christian novels.
Although she has read the entire series, Tribulation Force was the only book she didn't own. "I borrowed the book when I read it," she said.
The booksigning was paused to celebrate Camby's landmark purchase. She received congratulations from authors Jenkins and LaHaye, posed for photos, and was interviewed for the local newspaper and television affiliates.
Camby started reading the Left Behind series about four years ago. She has taught Sunday school classes on the book of Revelation at Pacolet Mills Baptist Church and has used the books in her teaching. She attended the booksigning and "50 Million Celebration" specifically to ask co-author LaHaye some questions. Camby is thrilled to have an autographed set for herself since she has loaned out many of her copies. "I often have to chase my books down," Camby says.
Launched in 1995, Left Behind is a series of nine end-times thrillers based on the Bible's book of Revelation. The end-times novels' cross-over success continues to rock the publishing industry. The last three booksDesecration, The Mark, and The Indwelling all debuted number one on the national best-seller lists for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Publishers Weekly (which do not tally sales through Christian outlets). Released on Oct. 30, 2001, the latest volume Desecration remains on the New York Times list and according to Publishers Weekly may be the best-selling hardcover novel for 2001. The Left Behind series product line has grown to include a best-selling children's series, graphic novel series, audio books, and an audio drama series, which is syndicated to 350 radio stations nationally.
About the Authors
Jerry B. Jenkins has written 12 New York Times best-sellers, including nine from the Left Behind series. A former vice president of publishing at the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, Jenkins now serves on the Institute's Board of Trustees. LaHaye is a retired pastor and prolific author of more than 45 books. He was recently named the "Most Influential Evangelical of the Past 25 Years" by the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College. Both authors are represented by Rick Christian, president of the Colorado Springs-based literary agency, Alive Communications.