Friday, January 16, 2009

USA Today's Bestselling Titles vs. Ours

The top 10 books sold per USA Today for 2008

1. Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer
followed by Meyer's...
5. A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle
6. The Shack, by William P. Young
7. The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow
8. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J. K. Rowling
9. Brisingr, by Christopher Paolini
10. The Appeal, by John Grisham (I've linked to the trade paperback)

Our Bestsellers (I won't list authors on titles duplicated above)

1. A New Earth
2. Audition, by Barbara Walters (#48 on USA Today)
3. Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson (#12 on USA Today)
4. The Last Lecture
5. Breaking Dawn
6. Twilight (There are multiple editions on this title. USA Today consolidated sales.)
7. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski (#18 on USA Today)
(In this case, I have added together the editions with and without the Oprah seals. Unlike The Corrections, the sealed and seal-less editions were not available at the same time so I cannot gauge which was more popular. You'll notice when you click through, the book is only available at Downer Avenue. The other shops have the other edition. Here's some hair I pulled out.)
8. Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan
9. In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
10. Change of Heart, by Jodi Picoult (#67 on USA Today, the link is to the paperback)

The two titles not on the USA Today Top 100, Loving Frank and In Defense of Food, were still huge hits nationally.

What does this all say?

1. At least for 2008, Schwartz was selling pretty much what everyone else was selling. I don't know if that's good or not. You have to go all the way to The Elegance of the Hedgehog at #16 to find a book that only worked at the indies.

2. We really missed having a few strong titles with regional interest. This was very tough on both our bottom line, and also on bringing folks into the shops. Wroblewski's novel, set in Wisconsin, is the closest we got.

3. We could do a better job selling Stephenie Meyer. At least in one of our shops where I worked for the holidays, we didn't have have all of her books up front, but instead led folks through the store to the teen section way in the back.

4. We sell a ton of books at our Alverno series (Walters and Picoult) but we had less authors of that caliber touring Milwaukee in 2008.

5. My new obsession is to see whether folks spell Stephenie Meyer's name correctly. I had finally decided that everyone figured out Rachael Ray, only to see it recently spelled without its all-important second "A" in a national newspaper.

Here's a little trick to help you remember...
Stephenie Meyer doesn't like the letter "A." Here favorite food is cherry pudding.
Rachael Ray loves the letter "A." It reminds her of crab and banana salad.

OK, that might not help much.

Back to the subject at hand. Of course there are wonderful success stories too at our shops in 2008, further down our list, but hardly of the caliber of our 2000+ copies sold of both Linda Olsson's Astrid and Veronika and Lesley Kagan's Whistling in the Dark.

USA Today did not pay for this posting. Or at least they did not respond to the invoice I sent them.

No comments: