Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August Rush--Stieg Larrson's Word of Mouth Bestseller Explodes

One of the books highlighted in Geeta Sharma-Jensen's column about hot books for fall, The Girl Who Played with Fire, has been our bestselling non-event hardcover fiction novel since we've opened. I spoke to my friends at Micawbers and they concurred--and they've been open a lot longer than we have. Great word-of-mouth on the first book that continued throughout its hardcover life have led to the likelihood this will be #1 on the New York Times for its first week out. Ingram, our primary wholesaler, totally sold out, reinforcing that belief.

It didn't hurt that Michiko Kakutani jumped the gun at the New York Times with a good review; folks came in surprised that the book wasn't coming out for a few weeks. Why does she do this? To set the tone for the book I think. She gets credit for a good review if she likes a book and it sells; for a bad review, she is effectively responded to by other critics who like the book.

It's a big August for names, repeating last year. Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice lands today (August 4th) as well as Richard Russo's That Old Cape Magic lands today. Pat Conroy, Terry Goodkind, Philippa Gregory follow. Oh, and there are plans to release a James Patterson book every day, from August 15th through 31st. (No they aren't.)

Last year, publishers were trying to get out of the way of election coverage. This year they are trying to get folks to open their wallets before they shell out for Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. Look for that long-awaited thriller on September 15th. That should probably break our new record for first week hardcover fiction sales.

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