Monday, September 14, 2009

Senator Kennedy Yesterday, Dan Brown Today

I'm not sure I've yet experienced a cultural phenomenon since we opened the store. We're about to have an Oprah's Book Club selection (and though we immediately guessed what the book was, I won't "say" so here.) We haven't had a Secret, or a Da Vinci Code and it turns out that the firestorm of conservative books seem to bypass us.

We sell Stephenie Meyer, and have had some nice first-week sales of other major releases, which have been chronicled previously. But this is the week when Edward Kennedy's True Compass lands (today) and Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol (tomorrow).

I can't really write something more interesting here than you will read 100 other places. Jason tracked our order via the UPS site to make sure the books come on time. We have a few other related books (though not as much as our national competitor, who seemed to expect a big pop in Freemasonry the same way Da Vinci Code drove sales of those books that drove sales of various Christian historical conspiracies.

OK, here's something interesting. I was looking on Ipage, our order web site, and looked up Da Vinci Code. They usually include a plot synopsis, a link to trade reviews, and some marketing materials posted by the publisher.

Here were the quotes:
Nelson DeMille
Clive Cussler
Harlen Coben
Vince Flynn.

I'm surprised.

Whether you like these authors or not, these are genre quotes. My memory of the book coming out was how "not genre" the read was. We were so surprised by the folks coming into buy the book who never read thrillers. Were there originally recommendations from folks outside the genre that are now not worth listing? Is the new book back to being just a big, big book by a genre author, like Tom Clancy in his heyday? I'm sure that's what folks at his publisher are wondering now.

(And here's what folks in the industry are probably thinking. If The Lost Symbol had come out two years ago, would Doubleday as a division have been folded into Knopf? I think the answer is, based on the circumstances of the industry and the economy, probably.)

We're still taking names for our giveaway of a signed copy of The Lost Symbol. If you read a lot of bookseller blogs and websites, this is happening at a number of bookstores around the country. No purchase required. Now that it's out, you need to come into the store to fill out a form. The book is 30% off through September 22nd, after which it moves to 20%. And eventually it won't be discounted at all, but I'm sure you guessed that.

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