Sunday, February 5, 2012

What's Selling This Week at Boswell? Post-Event Sales, Books for Classes, Film Tie-Ins (or Not).

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Veganomicon, by Isa Moskowitz
2. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson
3. Eminent Outlaws, by Christopher Bram
4. Quiet, by Susan Cain
5. The Better Angels of Our Nature, by Stephen Pinker

A customer who was perusing Eminent Outlaws insisted on playing "can you name this gay outlaw writer?" He won by a landslide.  It turns out that Harry Houdini was a very bad guess.

Some years ago, we had a great sale on a small-press introvert book. I can't remember its name! But it just goes to show the bookish people are ready to buy into a pro-introvert argument that is made in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. American Dervish, by Ayad Akhtar
2. Death Comes to Pemberly, by P.D. James
3. Goodnight iPad, by Ann Droyd
4. The Orphan Master's Son, by Adam Johnson
5. The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
6. On Canaan's Side, by Sebastian Barry

Four out of the top six hardcover fiction are post event sales. It's fascinating to me that I didn't really see this as much when I was Schwartz. I think it's because the effects were diluted among multiple stores. I'm happy to say that we are the #3 store in sales for Sebastian Barry's On Canaan's Side on Above the Treeline. A substantial percentage (I'd say one out of six, which seems high to me) of folks who are convinced to buy the book come in afterwards for one of his backlist titles.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Film School, by Steve Boman
2. Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, by George Perec
3. Bossypants, by Tina Fey
4. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
5. Townie, by Andre Dubus III

We've still got a few students coming in for suggested titles. Buy your books already! Your first paper is due next Thursday. But aside from that, it's nice to see a pop for Townie, the book we're discussing in the in-store lit group tomorrow (Feb. 6) and we're hosting in the store for a talk on Feb. 17. Since at least one of our custromers got confused--time to make it clear, Dubus appears at Boswell on Friday, February 17, 7 pm.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Tiger's Wife, by Téa Obreht
2. Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been, by Chase Twichell
3. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John Le Carré
4. Three Weeks in December, by Audrey Schulman
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson

Our HMH rep wondered last week why Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has not consistently on our bestseller list compared to say, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which has often in our top five. Honestly, I don't know. I think the sales are more evenly split on Foer's novel between the tie-in and classic cover, whereas almost all our Le Carré sales are on the new non-tie-in jacket. I also think that this market had massive sales on Foer over the course of the years, but honestly, there is a more compelling reason.

The film simply isn't playing at the Oriental or Downer, and "Tinker" is. The Downer is down the block. The Oriental is about 10 blocks away. In either case, a customer who likes the film will come over afterwards to buy the book. Customers who are planning to see the film will stop by first to read the book. But when the nearest screen is five miles away, the equation changes.

But I'm still wondering whether there's something we can do to make the book work better. Focus on one edition or the other (I don't combine isbns for sales--too confusing). Put a rec on it--hey I read the book and loved it. We'll see what happens.

Books for Kids
1. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
2. Hug Time, by Patrick McDonnell
3. Tea with Lady Sapphire, by Carl Sams
4. Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
5. Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick

Patrick McDonnell actually had two books in our kid top ten, with Me, Jane showing up on the tail end. The new Hug Time is the board book of a hardcover picture book from 2007. Needless to say, it is spearheading our Valentine's Day sales.

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