Sunday, January 4, 2015

Boswell Bestsellers for Week Ending January 3, 2015.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
2. The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell
3. The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters
4. Redployment, by Phil Klay
5. Colorless Tsukuru and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami
6. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
7. The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber
8. Fourth of July Creek, by Smith Henderson
9. Morarty, by Anthony Horowitz
10. Lydia's Party, by Margaret Hawkins (event at Lynden Sculpture Garden 1/28)

Aside from All the Light We Cannot See, hardcover fiction sales collapsed this week back down to post-seasonal levels. It will be nice to get some new blood out there. The first round of post-holiday releases come this Tuesday, January 6. But my gosh, our post-holiday numbers from Doerr are so much higher than anything we've had since we've been open, more than double our previous #1 post-holiday fiction bestseller, Death Comes to Pemberly, in 2011. I can do better than that--our sales of All the Light We Cannot See for the week after Christmas were higher than the post-holiday sales of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle in 2009 for all the Schwartz stores together (admittedly for week ending January 10, 2009, as I can't find the previous week, which was likely higher). So really the key to the moribund list is that everybody is buying the same book.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Motivation Manifesto, by Brendon Burchard
2. Pabst Farms, by John C. Eastberg
3. Deep Down Dark, by Héctor Tobar
4. Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
5. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
6. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast
7. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
8. Fields of Blood, by Karen Armstrong
9. Small Victories, by Anne Lamott
10. Everything I Need to Know I learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow.

Yes, the post-holiday numbers are spread around more in nonfiction, but it also appears that the titles in general are holding on better. Stock is in on Deep Down Dark which eased the demand spigot. And one would think that January would be a very good month for The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, in which folks often focus on organization.

Oh, and I'm on a one-person crusade to convince FSG to reprint Deep Down Dark with a more commercial jacket. Yes, in hardcover. I really think this book has a long hardcover life, but I think it needs a clearer image. Why not do a Father's Day edition?

Paperback Fiction:
1. Someone, by Alice McDermott
2. We are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler
3. The Martian, by Andy Weir
4. The Strange Library, by Haruki Murakami
5. The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert
6. The Museum of Extraordinary Things, by Alice Hoffman
7. What the Lady Wants, by Renée Rosen
8. The Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline
9. This is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz
10. At Night We Walk in Circles, by Daniel Alarcon

I can't believe I was a little worried that we wouldn't have a strong paperback for Alice McDermott's Someone. and while the cover is still a little monochrome and low contrast, it's clearer than the paperback. The rule of thumb is that if you get a lot of reads on a book in hardcover, you'll have a second payoff in paperback, as long as those people are still working at the bookstore, and we all really liked the book and didn't seem pushed into it by peer (or sometimes sales rep) pressure. You do sometimes have to jump-start the re-enthusiasm, reminding everyone of how much they liked it. I can think of at least one 2013 hardcover that I thought had a lot of momentum from staff but when I read the book in 2014 for the paperback, it felt like I was hand-selling alone and as a result, the book didn't perform.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
2. Eat Bacon, Don't Jog, by Grant Petersen
3. Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand
4. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
5. The Heart of Everything that is, by Bob Drury
6. Mary Nohl: Inside and Out, by Barbara Manger and Janine Smith
7. The History of the World in 12 Maps, by Jerry Brotton
8. The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
9. The Milwaukee Bucket List, by Barbara Ali
10. Zealot, by Reza Aslan

We decided to skip the "new year, new you/resolution" table this year as it just seemed a little played out, plus we didn't really have a hook. That said, the impulse table is looking a lot like said display, what with Marie Kondo and Grant Petersen's Eat Bacon, Don't Jog. It's a bit Atkins redux, but the jogging thing is a new take on "everything you've been doing to stay healthy is wrong."

Books for Kids:
1. Once Upon an Alphabet, by Oliver Jeffers
2. Unbroken: The Young Adult Adaptation, by Laura Hillenbrand
3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, by Jeff Kinney
4. Sisters, by Rena Telgemeier
5. Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, by Rick Riordan
6. The Book with No Pictures, by B.J. Novak
7. The Glass Sentence, by S.E. Grove
8. Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson
9. Outside, by Deirdre Gill
10. The Fourteenth Goldfish, by Jennifer Holm

Once again, nothing here that is particularly surprising, as most of these titles were selling at Christmas. The handselling goes down a bit, so these titles are probably a bit closer to what most indies are selling. I will note that I did convince two folks to buy The Glass Sentence. Amie said I'm allowed to use the word "Pullman-esque" to describe the series.

In the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins writes about If Women Have Courage...Among Shepherds, Sheiks, and Scientists in Algeria, from Dorothy Pond. He writes that the book "chronicles the many months she spent in North Africa alongside her husband (archeologist Alonzo Pond) on fieldwork expeditions." While not self-explicitly feminist, Higgins notes that Pond often found herself the only woman, "often among men who were not used to treating women as equals." Alas, we're not able to source this one for you to quickly, and our sales price will be a bit higher than the arbitrary list price, as it is imported by Africa Manga Verlag and sold to us by one of our wholesalers at close to net price...and they are out of stock.

There's also a book preview and a profile of James Patterson in the print edition.

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