Monday, December 26, 2011

Many Paperback Bestsellers Have Regional or Boswell Event Connections, or Both, but Our Two Biggest Fiction Titles are Also Among the Most Lauded of 2011. In Books for Kids, the Hardcover Picture Books Soar!

This week we broke the 100-copy mark in paperback for both The Tiger's Wife and The All of It, but what different paths they had. Obreht did it very quickly, and we're probably trailing most large bookstores. On the other hand, Haien's sales have been steady and even building since Patchett's visit in June, and we're #3 on Treeline, meaning many other stores haven't figured out this book's secret pleasures. I figured I'd see where we are on Treeline for Tiger's Wife too. We're #20 out of about 200 reporting stores, which is certainly not bad. One store has sold almost ten times the copies we have. That's like looking at the Grand Canyon.  There are also a few at the bottom that don't have copies, so I'm guessing those are just ghost servers for multi-store locations or something like that.

1. The Tiger's Wife, by Téa Obreht
2. Swamplandia, by Karen Russell
3. The All of It, by Jeannette Haien
4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
5. Best American Short Stories, edited by Geraldine Brooks
6. Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
7. The Help, by Katherine Stockett
8. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
9. The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein
10. Room, by Emma Donoghue
11. A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
12. The Bird Sisters, by Rebecca Rasmussen
13. Ukelele Nation, by Lil Rev (event on 12/29 at 7 pm)
14. Wizard's Dream, by Louisa Loveridge Gallas
15. The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson

Though I didn't read The Bird Sisters yet, I read enough reviews and the profile was such that I found myself suggesting it to a number of customers. 1940s-era Spring Green, Wisconsin?  A Kirkus review that states "A bittersweet, charmingly offbeat debut introduces spinster sisters Milly and Twiss looking back on a life of complicated emotions and early heartbreak?" A lovely interview in the Journal Sentinel for her appearance at Next Chapter for the hardcover? The bookseller formula in my head concluded that it would likely be appreciated by many gift recipients.

Paperback Nonfiction
1. Gimbels Has It!, by Michael J. Lisicky
2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
3. Cleopatra, by Stacy Schiff
4. At Home, by Bill Bryson
5. F in Exams, by Richard Benson
6. We are Wisconsin, by Erica Sagrans
7. Bay View, by Ron Winkler
8. Your True Home, by Thich Nhat Hanh
9. The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson
10. The Death of the Liberal Class, by Chris Hedges
11. Hitch 22, by Christopher Hitchens,
12. Unlikely Friendships, by Jennifer Holland
13. Apollo's Angels, by Jennifer Homans
14. Hidden Reality, by Brian Greene
15. The Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal

While talking about what we did and didn't do this year, it's notable that I ran out of room (or forget to set up) a regional table for the holidays. Folks found the books anyway, but it felt liket there weren't enough out there for something solid at the beginning of the season. Then these various titles from Arcadia (pictured is the North Point Milwaukee Lighthouse book) and the Wisconsin protest books popped up sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas and by that point, we could barely put together a sign. There's always next year...

Books for Kids
1.  Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker/Tom Lichtenheld
2. The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick
3. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
4. Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick
5. Mouse and Lion, by Rand Burkert/Nancy Burkert
6. Cabin Fever, by Jeff Kinney
7. Wildwood, by Colin Meloy/Carson Ellis
8. I Want my Hat Back, by Jon Klassen
9. I am a Bunny, by Ole Rissom/Richard Scarry
10. Blowin' in the Wind, by Bob Dylan/Jon J. Muth*
11. Everything On It, by Shel Silverstein
12. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
13. Me, Jane, by Patrick McDonnell
14. Bluefish, by Pat Schmatz
15. Inheritance, by Christopher Paolini

Thanks to Amie and Jason for finding more copies of our top titles. It's tricky with picture books in particular,  because you need a long reprint lead time (the books with color printing mostly come from China) and they don't really start selling in quantity until the last minute. And while you can place bets on a few titles (Amie bought a LOT of Wonderstruck up front, for example), you just don't know what will show up on the best of the year lists.

*Mr. Muth is best known on his own for 2005's Zen Shorts, and also illustrated last year's City Dog, Country Frog for Mo Willems.

1 comment:

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

Thank you so much for supporting The Bird Sisters! Happy Holidays! :)