Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Bestsellers for the Week ending December 14, 2013: A Chef and a Box of Crayons Battle it Out for First Place.

It's the second biggest bestseller numbers of the year for us, excluding events. I remember the days when I'd be reporting for Schwartz and we'd have quantities well over 100. It's not like that anymore, but it's still fun, so let's start the show.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Good Stock, by Sanford D'Amato (our event is this Tuesday, 12/17)
2. Schlitz: Brewing Art, by Paul Bialas
3. The Bully Pulpit, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
4. 1227 Quite Interesting Facts to Blow Your Socks Off, by John Lloyd, John Mitchenson, and James Harkin
5. Stitches, by Anne Lamott
6. Driven, by Donald Driver
7. A Reader's Book of Days, by Tom Nissley
8. David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell (ticketed event January 31)
9. The Big New Yorker Book of Cats, with a forward by Anthony Lane
10. Humans of New York, by Brandon Stanton

Boy, look at that 1227 Quite Interesting Facts take off. It's interesting how the world has no shortage of trivia, but if you package it well, it will work. This is from a BBC quiz show called "QI" in which contestants answer trivia questions and get more points if their answers are "quite interesting." The authors were interviewed by Scott Simon on All Things Considered last September.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
2. The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton
3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman
4. The Valley of Amazement, by Amy Tan
5. Sycamore Row, by John Grisham
6. The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride
7. Tenth of December, by George Saunders
8. The Illusion of Separateness, by Simon Van Booy
9. Longbourn, by Jo Baker
10. Someone, by Alice McDermott

Hey, how's that for gender parity? Men and women divide the top ten slots on our hardcover fiction list, but it's no question that Tartt and Catton are running away with the show. The top ten New York Times for 2013 popped Tenth of December, and we're expecting to see several of the others have a strong week. I see Jason took a strong position on Americanah for fiction and Wave for nonfiction. We had an interesting chat about this. As a newspaper, the New York Times leans towards politics in their nonfiction picks, but it seems like one area where it's hard to get folks who weren't previously interested to jump on a political book as a Christmas gift. We'd be better off with more biographies and history, for example. 

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh
2. Milwaukee at Water's Edge, by Tom Pilarzyk
3. Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris
4. Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela
5. On the Map, by Simon Garfield
6. Wild, by Sheryl Strayed
7. How Music Works, by David Byrne
8. The World Until Yesterday, by Jared Diamond
9. Detroit City is the Place to be, by Mark Binelli
10. Orange is the New Black, by Piper Kerman

Nonfiction paperbacks have a particularly nice bump in sales at the holiday season. While I'm not surprised to see Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom pop onto the list (yes, we sold right out of our initial order), one wouldn't expect Detroit City is the Place to be to have such a strong paperback sale. And Simon Garfield book type sale has flipped. While Just My Type had a much stronger sale in hardcover, we've closed to doubled the Boswell hardcover sale of On the Map with the paperback release.

I was chatting with a customer about Mark Binelli's book, telling her that our friend Lori just moved to the midtown Detroit area.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Best American Short Stories 2013, edited by Elizabeth Strout
2. Dear Life, by Alice Munro
3. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan
4. The President's Hat, by Antoine Laurain
5. The Dinner, by Herman Koch
6. City of Dark Magic, by Magnus Flyte
7. City of Lost Dreams, by Magnus Flyte
8. Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, by Maria Semple
9. Illuminations, by Mary Sharratt
10. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, by Jan Philipp Sendker

Several of my booksellers are reading City of Lost Dreams, the sequel to City of Dark Magic. Jason noted to me that it never really left the front new and noteworthy table, and that we're #2 among independent bookstores on Above the Treeline with 146 copies sold.  Compare that to a book like Herman Koch's The Dinner, where we're a perfectly respectable but not front-runner 15th place.And that's better than our ranking for Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, either in hardcover or paperback. That book is quite the indie bookstore phenomenon.

We're still in a solid second place on Above the Treeline for The President's Hat.

Books for Kids:
1. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
2. Jumping Penguins and Laughing Hyenas, by Marije Tolman
3. Flora and Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo
4. Alphablock, by Christopher Franceschelli
5. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
6. Squirrels on Skis, by J. Hamilton Ray
7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Volume 8: Hard Luck, by Jeff Kinney
8. Steam Train, Dream Train, by Sherri Duskey Rinker with illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld
9. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See (board book), by Bill Martin with illustrations by Eric Carle
10. The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg
11. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker, with illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld
12. The School for Good and Evil Volume 1, by Soman Chainani
13. Lego Minifigure Year by Year: A Visual History
14. The Animal Book, by Steve Jenkins
15. More than This, by Patrick Ness (event Wednesday, January 29 at Boswell)

Wow, look at those crayons move! The Day the Crayons Quit has our second best sale for any format, just one copy behind D'Amato's Good Stock, with Donna Tartt in third place.

We can still never figure out whether board books are hardcovers are paperbacks, which is only one reason why I generally combine the kids' bestseller lists. Another problem is that the better way to sort kids' books is by age range, but how much does one separate it out? I was thinking board with picture books, and then everything else, from middle grade to adult. But where do you put early readers. I'll keep working on this.

Amie took a big position on Alphablock and had a nice pop in sale this week. It's a big chunky board book with every book appearing in die-cut form, in addition to what the letter stands for. There are some nice pictures on the Kids' Book Review blog, with a heart-racing write-up from an enthusiastic Tania.  The photos give you a very good feeling for the book.

We're so excited that we've got Patrick Ness coming on January 29, 2014 and though he's coming for his adult title, The Crane Wife, our enthusiasm is bubbling over for his most recent kids' book, More than This. These are our best hardcover sales for a Ness title to date.

I'm sure you won't be surprised that we are the #1 store on Above the Treeline for sales on Squirrels on Skis. To paraphrase another I Can Read title, go, Jane, go!

In the Journal Sentinel this week, Jim Higgins and his team of critics pick their top tens for 2013.

Here are the selections from Jim Higgins. Hannah will be pleased to see the inclusion of Men We Reaped.

Mike Fischer picks his top ten here.

Mysteries hold court on Carole E. Barrowman's list.

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