Sunday, January 1, 2012

What Did People Buy with their Gift Cards and Crisp Gifty Fifties*?

A little explanation there. This list includes the books that were sold during the Milwaukee Public Library Fill-the-Shelves event at the Katie Gingrass Gallery. And it also involves one catchup sale, where we were using a dummy number for some purchases.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi
2. The Destiny of the Republic, by Candice Millard
3. Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
4. Van Gogh, by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith
5. The Food52 Cookbook, edited by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs

A last-minute publicity burst for Plenty cleaned us out, even on the reorder. One of the things that was particularly noticeable about this week's sales list was the prevalence of the cookbooks that had been missing all fall. Not just Ottolenghi's upmarket vegetarian, but Food52 and further down the top 20, The Cooks Illustrated Cookbook and Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, the backlist title that popped from high school classmate Jefferey Hertzberg's publicity stint in November.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
2. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides
3. The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes
4. The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
5. Death Comes to Pemberley, by P.D. James

So what's up with the Thompson? It turns out that we double-coded Habibi, discounting the unsigned copies but kept the signed copies at full price. We don't feel comfortable raising our signed copies above list (though this is common at collectible stores, and it is certainly the norm on places like Ebay), but we also don't normally discount before we run out of signed copies. This was our compromise--if we do it again, we will use the dummy code, which doesn't register on bestseller lists, on the signed copies, not the unsigned copies, and we'll also update the sales every week, not at the end of the month.

TMI? Let's continue...

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Ukelele Nation, by Lil Rev
2. Gimbels Has it!, by Michael J. Lisicky
3. Bay View, by Ron Winkler
4. We are Wisconsin, by Erica Sagrans
5. The Woman Behind the New Deal, by Kristin Downey

I normally put poetry books with fiction, but Lil Rev's poems for the most part seemed so much about a nonfiction subject that I, on whim, went with nonfiction. I have similar random placements of kid-style picture books that are sold in as adult titles, like Goodnight iPad.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Tiger's Wife, by Téa Obreht
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
3. Swamplandia, by Karen Russell
4. The Trouble with Poetry, by Billy Collins
5. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

I normally remove bulk sales from these list, well, who doesn't want to see a bit of Billy Collins on a blog post? There's nothing like year-end lists to help a struggling paperback here. We weren't able to jumpstart Swamplandia when it came out in the summer, despite great sales in hardcover, but by Christmas, it was a big success.

Books for Kids
1. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
2. Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
3. Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick
4. The Snowy Day anniversary edition, by Ezra Jack Keats
5. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
6. The Wizard of Oz Scanimation, created by Rufus Butler Seder
7. Cabin Fever, by Jeff Kinney
8. The Adventures of Tintin Volume 1, by Herge
9. The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse, by Eric Carle
10. Inheritance, by Christopher Paolini

There are some who say the movie releases help book sales. I think the only books in the top ten without a film connection are The Snowy Day and The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, if we say that Selznick and Kinney's newest reached new audiences, due to films associated with prior works.

Not surprisingly, we have not done as well with the Wizard of Oz scanimation book as we did with Star Wars last year, but both still fared better than Swing at this location and none did quite as well as the original Gallop. It's fun to have old sales in the computer.

*There are more large-denomination bills in the week after Christmas.

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