Sunday, December 11, 2011

What Sold Last Week? Seems Like Everything, but in Particular, P.D. James and Chad Harbach.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
2. Death Comes to Pemberley, by P.D. James
3. 11-22-63, by Stephen King
4. The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes
5. 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami
6. American Boy, by Larry Watson
7. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides
8. The Drop, by Michael Connelly
9. The Magician King, by Lev Grossman
10. The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otskuka

Normally the books that release in December are brand driven and aren't usually big indie bookstore bestsellers, but P.D. James, is surely a brand of broader stripes. And a mash up with Jane Austen? How could that miss? That said, I've noticed we don't carry too much of her backlist, which would intrigue me if we didn't have a space problem in the section.

Sales on James and Herbach were more than double what we did with anything else this week that wasn't a bulk sale, with the exception of The Tiger's Wife and Gimbels Has It!

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
2. George F. Kennan, by John Lewis Gaddis
3. Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, by Chris Matthews
4. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson
5. A History of the World in 100 Objects, by Neil MacGregor
6. Jerusalem, by Simon Sebag Montefiore
7. Just my Type, by Simon Garfield
8. Rin Tin Tin, by Susan Orlean
9. The Swerve, by Stephen Greenblatt
10.Charles Dickens, by Claire Tomalin

Now's the time of year when Journal Sentinel reviews can really pop sales. Alas, I can't link it here because the JS generally doesn't put syndicated reviews on their website, but here's the review in the San Francisco Chronicle. Alas to John, requests are running mostly for the Penguin Press bio from Tomalin, and less so for Becoming Dickens, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst's from Beklnap

We've had a nice run on John Lewis Gaddis's George F. Kennan. I think we were thrown off because his 2007 bio from John Lukacs had minimal sale at the Downer Schwartz (one copy). That said, it seems to have overtaken Spencer Tracy as the Milwaukee-origins bio of the moment.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Tiger's Wife, by Téa Obreht
2. A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
3. The All of It, by Jeannette Haien
4. Started Early, Took my Dog, by Kate Atkinson
5. Best American Poetry 2011, by Kevin Young
6. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson
7. Little Bee, by Chris Cleave
8. The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, by Walter Mosley
9. An Object of Beauty, by Steve Martin
10. A Child's Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas

Nothing much to say here. We helped a school put together an order for poetry books in quantity. While most were backlist and didn't seem appropriate to a bestseller list, I included Best American Poetry 2011 on our list because it's brand new and we are selling this in singles as well off our "best whatever" display case.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Gimbels Has it!, by Michael Lisicky
2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
3. Cleopatra, by Stacy Schiff
4. The Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal
5. The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson
6. At Home, by Bill Bryson
7. F in Exams, by Richard Benson
8. We are Wisconsin, by Erica Sagrans
9. You Had me at Woof, by Julie Klam
10. Unlikely Friendships, by Jennifer Holland

Besides our regulars, At Home is finally kicking it up a notch. We've been selling it regularly, but not with a weekly pop. Alas, we were a little late on We Are Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Uprising in the Words of the Activists, Writers, and Everyday Wisconsinites Who Made It Happen. It's a small press not carried by our distributor of record for a surprisingly large number of our small presses (Perseus), so we wound up going to a wholesaler, who oddly enough, didn't place the book at the warehouse that services...Wisconsin.

Hardcovers for Kids:
1. The Night Before Christmas 10th Anniversary Edition, by Jan Brett
2. Cabin Fever, by Jeff Kinney
3. The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick
4. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
5. Bear Stays Up for Christmas, by Karma Wilson
6. I am a Bunny, by Ole Rissom and Richard Scarry
7. Every Thing on It, by Shel Silverstein
8. Wildwood, by Colin Meloy
9. The Lego Ideas Book, by Daniel Lifkowitz
10. The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg and a Host of Others

I'm still whining that we can't seem to get momentum on children's picture books this season. Where is our Of Thee I Sing? Where is our Children Make Terrible Pets? How Rocket Learned to Read? It's a Book? I guess our closest candidate might be Jon Klassen's I Want my Hat Back, the story of a bear who...lost his hat. As I was discussing with Stacey Williams-Ng (coming Thursday, December 15 for Astrojammies talk, publishers are much hotter on writer/illustrators than they used to be. They used to prefer to match a new illustrator with a well-known writer and vice versa. But no more--now they want the total package.)

Paperbacks for Kids:
1. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
2. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, by Rick Bunsen
3. The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan
4. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
5. Time for Bed, by Mem Fox

Hugo is definitely helping sales of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Even folks who didn't expect to like it are enthralled. We've had a few folks coming in for Tintin books but alas, the reviews are not great so that probably won't hold. Marketing folks for the movie asked us to do a Tintin storytime, but since we don't really have successful storytimes (maybe someday we'll try again), we passed. On the other hand, we took a metal poster for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

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