Sunday, December 22, 2019

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers for the week ending December 21, 2019

Here are the Boswell hardcover fiction bestsellers for the busiest week of the year, December 15-21, 2019. I'm going to post each category separately, just so I can make sure some get out.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
2. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
3. The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
4. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
5. Olive Again, by Elizabeth Strout
6. The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner
7. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens (The NYT article on the biggest bestseller of 2019)
8. Exhalation, by Ted Chiang
9. The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern
10. Girl in the Rearview Mirror, by Kelsey Rae Dimberg (the big local author fiction hardcover)
11. Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales, edited by Peter Christen Asbjornsen
12. The Disappearing Earth, by Julia Phillips
13. Red at the Bone, by Jaqueline Woodson
14. The Grammarians, by Cathleen Schine
15. The Guardians, by John Grisham
16. The Giver of Stars, by John Grisham
17. The World That We Knew, by Alice Hoffman
18. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, by Olga Tokarczuk
19. The Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli
20. Trust Exercise, by Susan Choi (National Book Award winner)

One change from 2018 - we had a lot of hardcover fiction events where the books took off and a full 7 of the top 20 were post-event successes in this category. This year it was just 4. Several big genre fiction events did not translate into large holiday sales with signed copies, and some of our literary sleepers remained a bit sleepy.

Cathleen Schine's The Grammarians has now sold 50% more than her last, They May Not Mean to but They Do. And that book blew away Fin and Lady in paperback sales. We're just about to pass Fin in hardcover sales, and that was with an event. We'll see what the paperback holds.

Another breakout is Ben Lerner's The Topeka School. We're move than doubled sales of 10:04, his 2014 novel. It helps that this was Chris's book of the year. It is also one of the New York Times ten-best books. Knopf/Doubleday dominated this list, which is not unusual for them, and that has led to a number of sales pops. Four of the five novels cited are in our top 20, including Knopf/Doubleday's The Lost Children Archive and The Disappearing Earth. For some reason, Night Boat to Tangier is the laggard.

At least at Boswell, it was better for Louise Penny to be released in late November than late August. We still have several days to go before the end of the year, but A Better Man is 37 copies short of what we sold of Kingdom of the Blind. My guess is that the August release date gives the publisher better placement at mass merchants.

Seven of the top 15 New York Times bestsellers are in our top 15.  If you'd like to order or hold a copy of one of the books in this blog post, visit our website.