Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What's black and white and red all over? Our top 50 hardcover nonfiction titles for 2017!

Here are our top 50 hardcover fiction titles for the year.

1. Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant*
2. What Happened, by Hillary Rodham Clinton
3. It Takes Two, by Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott
4. Everything Is Awful, by Matt Bellassai
5. Endurance, by Scott Kelly
6. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken
7. Theft by Finding, by David Sedaris
8. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan*
9. 3D Body Revolution, by Donald Driver
10. Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance (#1 book without an event)*
11. I Hate Everyone Except You, by Clinton Kelly*
12. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
13. Chuck Klosterman X, by Chuck Klosterman
14. Note to Self, by Connor Franta
15. The Education of Will, by Patricia B. McConnell
16. Writings on the Wall, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld
17. Grant, by Ron Chernow (and this would be our #2 book that had no event)
18. Janesville, by Amy Goldstein*
19. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
20. You Are a Badass at Making Money, by Jen Sincero
21. The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben
22. Leonardo Da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson (lots of memoirs, only two biographies)
23. We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
24. Good Grief, by Theresa Caputo
25. Montaigne in Barn Boots, by Michael Perry*
26. The President Will See You Now, by Peggy Grande
27. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond*
28. At Mama's Knee, by April Ryan
29. American Spirit, by David McCullough
30. Obama, by Pete Souza
31. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
32. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
33. The Little Book of Hygge, by Meik Wiking (only impulse table book this year)
34. The Book of Joy, by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams
35. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein
36. Hunger, by Roxane Gay (the only author to have books on fiction and nonfiction lists)*
37. The Death of Expertise, by Tom Nichols
38. Devotion, by Patti Smith (signed copies really help sell books!)
39. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
40. Everybody Lies, by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz*
41. Wisconsin Sentencing in the Tough-on-Crime Era, by Michael O'Hear
42. Sapiens, by Yuval Harari
43. The Driftless Reader, edited by Curt Meine and Keeley Keefe
44. You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, by Sherman Alexie
45. Fully Alive, by Tyler Gage
46. Obroni and the Chocolate Factory, by Steven Wallace*
47. The World Broke in Two, by Bill Goldstein*
48. The Rules Do Not Apply, by Ariel Levy
49. Going into Town, by Roz Chast*
50. Not a Crime to Be Poor, by Peter Edelman*

It would be interesting to pull event sales out but I don't know how. One indication might be what we sold in December. Here are our top ten titles for the holiday month.

1. Grant, by Ron Chernow
2. Leonardo Da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson
3. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
4. Obama, by Pete Souza
5. We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
6. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
7. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
8. Border Country, by Martha Greene Phillips
9. The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben
10. Everybody Lies, by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

And Janesville comes in at #12. I think it would have been higher had the book not been scheduled for paperback on January 2. It will be interesting to see if this pays off-the book is coming off a bit of a shortage, a number of year-end best-of lists, and the Financial Times Award. Could more laurels be on the way?

While we pull bulk sales out, we don't exclude book-with-ticket events, and the line on this can be a little hazy. While we worked the events and gave out the books, we met neither Hillary Rodham Clinton (unlike our former colleague at a certain other store who had a group picture with HRC!) nor the Property Brothers, which we're supposed to call the Scott Brothers. But to be fair, I didn't really mean Sheryl Sandberg and that really was our event. She's also a friend's cousin, or maybe a cousin's friend. It's hard to remember.

One thing that I noticed just when looking for jacket images is that while a white jacket is a bit of a non-starter for fiction, you just can't beat it for nonfiction. With black and red highlights.

And yes, we are well aware that despite being a good-sized bookstore with respectable sales, we are still, as I like to call it, "a niche within a niche."

*There's no question that my reading books has less impact upon our nonfiction sales than it does in fiction. I could hand-sell Killers of the Flower Moon just as well as I could Everybody Lies, even though I only read parts of the former, and I only could a book as read if it's 100% finished. I have to say that I've talked myself back into reading it. I think (big maybe) we're going to read it for our In-Store Lit Group in June.

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