Sunday, May 13, 2012

What Did You Think Mom Wanted Anyway? Boswell's Bestseller Roundup for May 6-12.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
2. Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward
3. The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
4. Fifty Shades Darker, by E.L. James
5. Fifty Shades Freed, by E.L. James

Apparently Mom wanted erotica; we had a big jump in sales this week of James's trilogy. Ward pops partly from being our next in-store lit group selection while Harbach has a post-event publicity hit and signed copies don't hurt either. We've also been recommending #6 and #7 for Moms, State of Wonder and Caleb's Crossing.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon
2. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson
3. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
4. Use Your Words, by Kate Hopper
5. Bossypants, by Tina Fey

Larson's appearance on Fresh Air had me worrying about traffic accidents. We had at least three calls from cars asking about the book. Lots of event books here, and a Fey pop for Mom's day too, though hardly akin to the hardcover pop last year. And while I am known for getting signed copies for customers from other stores when we sell out early, this time with Austin Kleon we actually bought a few copies from Urban Outfitters to resell to our customers when we ran out. I had actually restocked at the last minute from Workman, but I didn't count on a very strong sale just before the event off our impulse and graduation tables.  Whatever it takes, right?

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Sacré Bleu, by Christopher Moore
2. Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel
3. Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, by Alison Bechdel
4. In One Person, by John Irving
5. I Am a Pole and So Can You, by Jeffrey Archer
6. Sins of the Father, by Jeffrey Archer
7. Home, by Toni Morrison
8. Darth Vader and Son, by Jeffrey Brown
9. A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin
10. Lehrter Station, by David Downing

Our sales were strong enough to stretch to ten titles this week. One of our regulars has been enthusiastic about the new Archer since it was first announced. Irving and Morrison also had ok sales pops. But all were outdone by Hilary Mantel's follow up to Hilary Mantel's follow up to Wolf Hall, what with that amazing NYT review last week. Had we not had a huge pop on our signed Sacré Bleu, it would have been a strong #1 for the week.

It's interesting to see the sales pattern of Moore's latest compared to the previous book, for which we also had signed copies. Perhaps because of beautiful package, perhaps because it uses as a jump-off point the Impressionists, a subject dear to many of our customers' hearts, sales are substantially (10%) over Bite Me, and that's for the life of the book. For Sacré Bleu, we won't even get a Christmas, as the paperback will be out this fall. That said, I'm trying to work on a checklist of hardcover copies that we're going to keep in stock for quickly released paperbacks of literary titles. We'll see how it goes.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Good Food Revolution, by Will Allen (signed copies available)
2. Are You My Mother, by Alison Bechdel (signed copies coming soon)
3. Hammer of the Gods, by David Luhrssen
4. The Passage of Power, by Robert A. Caro
5. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, by Anna Quindlen
6. The Life of Herbert Hoover, by Glen Jeansonne
7. Drift, by Rachel Maddow
8. Natural Woman, by Carole King
9. The Emotional Life of Your Brain, by Richard J. Davidson
10. This I Believe: On Motherhood, edited by Dan Gediman

What a week! I'm reliving a week of great events in five of our top six titles. Hey, it would have been nice to host Robert Caro and the rest, but you can dream. I'm glad to say that the events we did have with these authors all went well. Lurhssen's fourth event (yes, he's that prolific) was his biggest to date, and Steve and Rob told us that the C Span taping went very well. Look for it on Book TV soon.

Books for Kids:
1. Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
2. The Cheerleaders of Doom, by Michael Buckley
3. The Serpent's Shadow, by Rick Riordan
4. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
5. Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
6. Little Bird, by Germano Zullo

Like many stores, we are having a pop in Sendak sales, but intererstingly enough, the demand is not matching the attention, at least for us. I think a lot of fans already have the books. Let's see how things develop when we have more stock. And on a happier note, Stacie's kid book pick, Little Bird, is also getting nice review attention, and is selling out of various places in the store.

New York Times Book Review front page salutes motherhood:
Making Babies: Stumbling Into Motherhood, by Anne Enright
The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women, by Elisabeth Badinter
The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family, by Madeleine M. Kumin.

Reviewed by Mike Fischer in the Journal Sentinel: They Eat Puppies, Don't They?, by Christopher Buckley, which he calls "a rollicking satire with a cloak-and-dagger plot that spoofs Washington politics, while making some serious points about American foreign policy."

Reviewed by Jim Higgins: Enlarged Hearts, by Kathie Giorgio, which he notes "restores humanity and dignity to a pair of subjects often treated with derision: big women and the mall workplace." Giorgio is appearing at Books and Company in Oconomowoc this Thursday, May 17.

And for print readers, there's a nice profile of Charlaine Harris.

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