Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday Bestseller Post--Release Pops for Penny, Pre-Movie Pops for Mitchell, Pre and Post Event Pops for Tononi, Marton, and More.

Hardcover fiction:
1. The Beautiful Mystery, by Louise Penny
2. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
3. Wards of Faerie, by Terry Brooks (event at Boswell 9/11, 7 pm)
4. A Hundred Flowers, by Gail Tsukiyama (event at Centennial Hall, 9/27, 7 pm)
5. A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin

The big release this week was clearly Louise Penny’s new release, The Beautiful Mystery, is featured in the Indie Next brochure with a review from Anne. We sold almost half our total sale of Penny in the first week. Being that backlist sales on her books have continued to be very strong, I wouldn’t be surprised if our numbers on this book beat the last release, A Trick of the Light, whose sales, while strong, were down for us slightly from 2010’s Bury Your Dead. While you might think that is the effect of ebooks, I would contend that two other factors are in play. 1) The reviews for the 2010 book were better, and Penny got the Agatha award, giving her more selling space at the store. And 2) Because she’s now a NYT bestseller, I think distribution was better on the 2011 title, and discounting was probably more aggressive, leading a few price-convenience customers to drift elsewhere. So the question is, will Penny continue to have both a bestseller pop and long-tail of discovery, or have most of her potential fans coming into Boswell discovered her? We'll find out over time.

Hardcover nonfiction:
1. Phi, by Giulio Tononi
2. Paris: A Love Story, by Kati Marton (event 9/5, 7 pm)
3. The Man with the Bionic Brain, by Jon Mukand
4. Every Love Story is a Ghost Story, by D.T. Max
5. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

We think Tononi’s event was very successful—you never really know until you get your publisher feedback and find out how it stacked up against expectations and other events. There must have been a publicity hit this week for Paris: A Love Story, as the wholesalers were pretty much cleared out of books, just when I was going to do some last minute restocking for our event this Wednesday. I’m hoping I grabbed the last of a warehouse’s stock. The confirmation was positive, so it turns out my trigger finger was just fast enough.

Paperback fiction:
1. Pryme Knumber, by Matthew Flynn
2. The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes
3. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
4. State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett
5. Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

This list reminds me that I have to go through the film table and weed out the spring and summer detritus without legs, movies that promised a lot and didn’t deliver. On the other hand, I think readers are ready to tackle the titles that will be fall films, if we can just figure out what they are before they open at the Oriental and Downer. I’m surprised by how difficult it is to find, even when I scour the Entertainment Weekly movie preview issues. We’ve got Cloud Atlas, which is great, though at least one bookseller who read the book was scratching his head at how it would be filmed. I show the tie-in edition, but I'm linking to the classic jacket, which is currently in stock. It’s had a relatively early pop of interest.

Paperback nonfiction:
1. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson
2. ROTC Kills, by John Koethe (event 9/7, 7 pm)
3. Invisible, by Ruth Silver (event 9/8, 2 pm)
4. 1493, by Charles C. Mann
5. Blood, Bones, and Butter, by Gabrielle Hamilton

I usually put poetry in the fiction category, but Koethe’s poems seemed so autobiographical that I wound up jumping categories. Maybe next week I’ll change my mind. It just goes to show that bestseller reporting can be an art as well as a science. Read more about Koethe's book and upcoming event in Jim Higgins' profile/review in the Journal Sentinel.

Books for Kids:
1. I am a Bunny, by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry
2. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
3. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
4. The Kill Order, by James Dashner
5. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins

Dashner is coming to Milwaukee, but not for his new title in the Maze Runner series. He’ll be at Cudahy Family Library on September 27 (6:30, 3500 Library Drive, just south of Layton, as per Friday’s post) promoting Infinity Ring Book 1. The The Kill Order is a prequel to The Maze Runner, explaining the world’s fall from sun flares and disease, and how that led to The Glade. Dashner’s also got a new title in the 13th Reality Series. I better make sure I have everything.

For next week's bestseller list, we can bet on a sales pop for Zadie Smith's NW, a contemporary novel about two friends, Leah and Natalie (formerly Keisha), living in the now-gentrifying northwest London. Michael Fischer in the Journal Sentinel notes that Natalie is a character akin to one in a Jennifer Egan or David Foster Wallace novel, one who thinks she's arrived, but is still lost.

And coming on Tuesday, the book the news media has been buzzing about for weeks, No Easy Day, by Mark Owen with Keith Maurer. The Journal Sentinel picks up a piece that looks at the issues the book raises, mostly that Owen's report contradicts the official details of Bin Laden's killing. This was one of those books that Jason had to buy blind. I spoke to one of the publicists working on the title (like many folks in publishing, a metro Milwaukeean) and she thought we better go back and get a bunch more, but we're on the fence, as the number is pretty close to what we sold of Seal Team Six, another recent military narrative that was also a huge bestseller.

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